Jeremy Deller’s Joy In People previewed today at the Hayward, it’s his first real retrospective covering all of his work starting off with the infamous installation at his parents’ house in Bromley, a collection of photographs, posters and paintings. If you can’t already tell he is my number one artthrob, followed closely by Grayson Perry, Tacita Dean and Victor Burgin.
His incredible re-enactment of the Battle of Orgreave is one of the many highlights of the show, a gargantuan undertaking enlisting former miners and extras to re-enact one of the most fraught battles of the miners’ strike in the 80s. By staging this reconstruction all the emotions and tensiosn from nearly twenty years ago emerge as fresh as if they were happening today.
Not everything is so bombastic, his embossing stamps are installed in the gallery, ready to press phrases like ‘hell is other people’s money’ into paper, money or whatever you want to insert into it.
The common thread with these two pieces is that in both works Jeremy isn’t really making the arwork. At a talk at the beginning of the preview Deller said: ‘there are two types of artists, those who make status objects and those who are storytellers. Status objects are made for people in power.’ Classifying himself firmly in the storyteller camp, Deller went on to add ‘I make art as a way of keeping myself interested in the world.’
The title ‘Joy In People’ echoes this, his work celebrates the marginal and the overlooked, little wonder then that he is a massive fan of jumble sales, hoarding –or ‘archiving’ as he put it– books and trinkets. Fans will be delighted with Beyond the White Walls, a slide show presentation that delves into Deller’s mind and sort of joins the dots between his various projects.
The artist Allan Sekula once said ‘capitalism demands we sail alone’, and it seems that Jeremy Deller’s work is valiantly trying to wade against this.