An audio CD of original interviews with the artist
Edited by Robert Eikmeyer and Alistair Hudson
Published by Brigade Commerz
Audio-CD: 49 min
On December 15 2009 Robert Eikmeyer and Alistair Hudson met Jeremy Deller in his flat in London to talk about his work. For many years now, Deller has been at the forefront of a generation of artists who operate within the social arena, orchestrating real life scenarios to illuminate the wider context. In 2001 with his “Battle of Orgreave” he worked with re-enactment societies to re-create the confrontations between striking British miners and the police and in Acid Brass he got a brass band to entertain with acid house music to millions of spectators. He has organised processions with blind people, homeless and goth kids, designed a bat house in London, made a film about the fans of Depeche Mode and toured a bomb damaged Iraqi car around the US. In many ways Deller’s “Social Surrealism” is mischievous, a way to unsettle and subvert the established world, and change the way we look at it.
“LED BY ONE BLIND PERSON WITH A STICK JUST WALKING SLOWLY IN FRONT WOULD BE FOR ME THE PERFECT BEGINNING TO A PROCESSION”. THE BATTLE OF ORGREAVE IS JEREMY DELLER’S SIGNATURE WORK, AS HE SAYS HIS “STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN”. HOWEVER IT FORMS ONLY ONE PART OF A GROWING CATALOGUE OF PROJECTS THAT CAN BE READ AS AN ONGOING PROCESSIONAL BODY OF WORK WHICH EXAMINES, REFLECTS UPON AND INFLUENCES OUR SOCIETY. USUALLY WE EXPECT “A MILITARY BAND PLAYING MUSIC” OR “HUNDREDS OF CHILDREN DRESSED AS BUTTERFLIES” BUT IN THE PROCESSIONS IN SAN SEBASTIAN OR MANCHESTER THERE WERE BLIND PEOPLE WITH GUIDE DOGS FOLLOWED BY SURFERS, SMOKERS, GOTH KIDS, HOMELESS PEOPLE OR PEOPLE WITH AIDS. “SO IT'S JUST A GROUP OF PEOPLE WALKING DOWN THE STREET A LOT OF THE TIME. VERY NORMAL BUT THEN VERY REMARKABLE AT THE SAME TIME.” DELLER’S WORK IS INFLUENCED BY ANDY WARHOL, “SLADE, DAVID BOWIE AND, DARE I SAY, GARY GLITTER”. GLAM ROCK AND TOP OF THE POPS WERE HIS ART COLLEGE AND TAUGHT HIM “A LOT ABOUT VISUAL CULTURE”. SINCE HIS MANCHESTER PROCESSION DELLER USES THE TERM SOCIAL SURREALISM TO DESCRIBE HIS PRACTISE. “IT’S GOING BACK TO THE ORIGINAL IDEA OF CARNIVAL AND PROCESSION, WHICH IS ABOUT INVERTING REALITY AND CHANGING REALITY IF ONLY FOR A DAY OR A WEEK AND CHANGING HOW YOU LOOK AT THE WORLD.”
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