Jeremy Deller in and on the Hayward Gallery in London

The English artist Jeremy Deller studied History of Art at the Courtauld Institute in London and at Sussex University. He spent two years in Andy Warhol’s Factory in New York when he was a student and is now showing his latest exhibition at the Hayward Gallery at the Southbank Centre in London until the 13 May.

Since the late 1980s he has produced artworks which deal with everyday happenings. One of his most impressive work and most related to current social-political issues is the reconciliation of the miners’ strike of the 1984/5 is called The Battle of Orgreave (an injury to one is an injury to all), 2001.
Fascinated by the strike under the Thatcher government, as a teenager, he wanted to produce an artwork which resembles a “living history”.
The exhibition has devoted a whole room to it. He reenacted the strike and tried to recreate a similar atmosphere among the people who participated voluntarily. To reenact the strike faithful he did two years of research and the resultant is remarkable: A crowd of angry people depict the anger and mood of the miners very well.

Apart from this master piece the exhibitions shows also a recreation of his bedroom when he was a teenager living at home and Valerie’s Snack Bar (2009). The bar represents social surrealism and the artist wants to show how life in Britain is:  “annoying, funny and a bit of a mess.” He is also famous for his big banners shown on the Hayward Gallery.

The highlight of the exhibition is the room showing the video of his reenacted miners’ strike, while his other artworks provoke a rather confusing than enriching emotion which could be the case due to a lack of information provided about his artworks. According to Jeremy Deller art is not about what you make “but about what you make happen.”


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