Known as one of the art world’s “most quixotic, itinerant truth-seekers” (Ossian Ward), Jeremy Deller’s search has taken him across all mediums and occasionally outside the gallery tradition. In his work, Deller champions the people, places and traditions that lie outside of the radar of mainstream consciousness and presents them to an audience as interactive pieces. Notable examples include Sacrilege (2012), a blow up replica of Stonehenge that viewers were invited to jump upon; while in It Is What It Is(2009), the remains of a car destroyed in the Iraq War were wheeled across the United States, bringing a relic of the distant conflict ‘back home’. Occasionally whimsical, often absurd, his reappraisals of under-examined issues reintroduce them into our collective memory in an abrupt yet playful way, while simultaneously questioning their significance. In this way, Deller demonstrates how the experience of contemporary art is no longer limited to the isolated appreciation of canvas work, but involved to a far greater extent with the viewer’s relationship with the piece.
An artist that refuses to be restricted by gallery walls, Deller’s oeuvre is formed from collaborative projects with and about people. His work actively seeks the participation of an audience, to include and engage them in the most natural way possible. Exhibiting his own creative failures, he shows the conflict of every artist; between his power as a creator and his vulnerability as a human. Moreover Deller deliberately blurs the lines between audience and artwork by making large-scale installations in which the public are invited to immerse themselves and consider from the inside. Ultimately, it is in this interaction between the viewer and the exhibited work that the essence of his art lays.
Jeremy Deller (b.1966) is a multidisciplinary and Turner Prize-winning artist whose practice has done much to challenge the ways in which contemporary art is made and received. A graduate of the Courtauld Institute and the University of Sussex, Deller has gradually shifted from an academic background to making artwork in the form of short-lived, public interventions. His first exhibition Home Alone famously took place in his bedroom in 1993 while his parents were away on holiday. A significant retrospective of his work, Joy In People, was held in 2012 at the Hayward Gallery, London and he is to represent Great Britain at the 55th Venice Biennale.