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Hayward Gallery opens Jeremy Deller. Joy in People

The Hayward Gallery at the Southbank Centre in London presents Jeremy Deller: Joy in People, on view, 22 February–13 May 2012.

Jeremy Deller, “Exodus of bats at dusk, Frio Caves Texas,” 2011. © the artist. Image courtesy the artist.

Over the past two decades, Jeremy Deller has established a reputation for being a different kind of artist. Believing that ‘art isn’t about what you make but what you make happen,’ much of his work has been ephemeral and short-lived, and intended to be experienced beyond the confines of conventional galleries. An assembler of things and a ‘stager’ of events, he has orchestrated, curated and directed projects including films, processions, historical re-enactments, ‘unconventions’ and exhibitions. Ingeniously exploring the ways that culture is woven from webs of activity that cut across unexpected social spheres and categories, Deller has helped to expand our idea of art—of the roles it can play and the shapes it may take. Jeremy Deller: Joy in People —the first comprehensive survey of the artist’s career—provides a fresh overview of his multi-faceted and influential work.

The exhibition will incorporate almost all of Deller’s major works to date, including installations, photographs, videos, posters, wall paintings, banners, performance works, and sound pieces, shown together with newly commissioned projects. It also includes many seldom-seen works as well as Open Bedroom (1993), a reconstruction of an important early exhibition that the artist held in his parents’ house while they were away on holiday.

Among other major works, the show will feature a two-part installation based around Deller’s epic project An Injury to One is an Injury to All (2001) exploring a violent 1984 confrontation between striking miners and police—an event he re-staged with historical re-enactment societies and former miners. Much of Deller’s work has been collaborative, and several installations in the exhibition embody this aspect of his approach by including contributions made by participating volunteers. It Is What It Is (2009) presents the remains of a car destroyed at Al-Mutanabbi book market in Baghdad within an area in which participants with firsthand knowledge of conflict zones in the Middle East, particularly Iraq, discuss their experiences with the public; Valerie’s Snack Bar (2009), a functioning replica of a Manchester café along with large-scale parade banners (such as a pro-smoking banner designed by David Hockney), will provide visitors with a place to take a break and have a cup of tea while watching a video of Procession (2009), a parade that Deller organised in Manchester featuring diverse volunteer and amateur groups representing the full spectrum of the city’s cultural life.

Deller has frequently explored and elaborated on the social meanings of popular music. Jeremy Deller: Joy in People will include a number of his pioneering collaborative projects with rock fans, such as The Uses of Literacy (1997), an exhibition created by fans of The Manic Street Preachers, which brings together paintings, collages, drawings, books, poetry and ephemera inspired by the band’s lyrics. The exhibition will also feature several music-related videos, such as Acid Brass (1997), for which Deller commissioned a traditional brass band to play contemporary acid house music.

New commissions include Exodus (2012), a 3-D film depicting a twilight scene of 20 million bats flying out of a cave in Texas, and Beyond the White Walls (2012), a narrative slide show in which Deller discusses his many non-gallery projects and interventions, particularly from the first ten years of his career. The exhibition concludes with a section entitled ‘My Failures,’ devoted to the artist’s myriad unrealised projects, as well as a notice board with ongoing briefs related to his current undertakings.

Joy in People is curated by Ralph Rugoff, Director, Hayward Gallery. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog featuring contributions from eminent sociologist Stuart Hall, music writer Rob Young, curator and artist Matthew Higgs, Ralph Rugoff, and Barbara Deller, the artist’s mother.

Following its premiere at the Hayward Gallery, the exhibition will tour to WIELS Center for Contemporary Art, Brussels (1 June–19 August 2012); Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (19 September–30 December 2012) and Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (1 February–28 April 2013).

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road
London, SE1 8XX, England

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