Jeremy Deller is a prominent English conceptual, video and installation artist best known for his political and social themes. Deller is unique in his attempts, and his work is a collaborative representation of different political and social aspects, and most importantly they are a symbol of the devaluation of artistic ego within the process of involvement of other people in his the creative process. He is the Turner Prize winner from 2004, and also a proud owner of the Albert Medal of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce (RSA), which he received in 2010. One of his most notable works is the Battle of Orgreave from 2001 which represents a reenactment of the actual Battle of Orgreave which occurred in 1084 during the UK miners’ strike. Another famous work of Deller is a 2016’s piece. We’re Here Because We’re Here. Besides, it is also important to mention that Jeremy Deller served as a Trustee of the Tate Gallery from 2007 to 2011.
Jeremy Deller was born in London in 1966 in the midst of the social and political outbursts around the country, Europe and the world. He went to St John’s and St Clement’s Primary School as well as Dulwich College before earning his BA degree in History of Art at Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London. He chose History of Art instead of Art since he was told that he cannot draw or paint which made an impact on his further development as an individual. Deller achieved his MA degree in Art History at the University of Sussex under the fantastic British professor and curator David Alan Mellor.
From his early years, Deller was shaping and broadening his interests in art and culture, through the regular visits of museums such as the Horniman Museum, in South London. In 1986, as a twenty-year- old art lover, he had the chance to meet one of the most intriguing and fascinating popular artists Andy Warhol. After this meeting, Warhol invited him to join him in New York, where he spent two weeks at The Factory. During those two weeks, he developed his skills as an artist of popular, contemporary art, which was still contradictory activity in conservative societies. In early 1990, he began making artworks, but he was determined not to present them in the conventional galleries. On one occasion when his parents were out of town he secretly held an exhibition in his family home which was called Open Bedroom. At that time, in 1993, Jeremy was still living at his parents’ house as a 27-year-old man who instead of throwing a party decided to hold an exhibition. Only several people were invited to see Deller´s first attempts and ideas. The central piece were items that presented the life of great Keith Moon.
Only four years later, in 1997, Deller presented one of his masterpieces called Acid Brass, which was a musical project done in collaboration with the Williams Fairey Brass Band from Stockport. The main goal of this piece was to fuse the music of a traditional brass band along with the acid house and Detroit techno.
In his later attempts, Deller’s work presents some kind of social criticism. Most of the projects are collaborative pieces with a strong political aspect. As a result, the group of individuals with Jeremy Deller in charge made a tour of “people’s art” called Folk Archive which was exhibited across the country including the Barbican Centre and The Public in West Bromwich. With his work, Deller tries to avoid commodification and long lasting pieces.
With the group of enthusiasts, Deller staged The Battle of Orgreave, attracting almost a thousand of people in a public re-enactment of this violent confrontation from 1984. The whole project was filmed for Artangel Media and Channel 4 by director Mike Figgis. In collaboration with Alan Kane in 2006, Deller took part in a touring exhibit of contemporary British folk art. Later that year he initiated an architectural contest called The Bat House Project, which was open to the public for a bat house on the outskirts of London.
In 2007 he made a documentary about Depeche Mode fans around the world. The film was co-directed with Nick Abrahams, and it is known under the name ‘The Posters Came from the Walls’. His documentary became wildly popular after it was premiered at the London Film Festival, and was screened at several festivals around the world.
Mancunian parade through the centre of Manchester along Deansgate was Deller´s project from 2009 called Procession. It was co-commissioned by Manchester International Festival as well as Cornerhouse. This was a unique experience which gathered diverse groups of people from the ten boroughs of Manchester.
That same year Jeremy Deller shocked the public with his exhibit It Is What It Is: Conversations About Iraq. It was commissioned as part of The Three M Project, which is a group composed of the three museums – the New Museum in New York, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. This unique project was intended to encourage public discussion by having guest experts providing unscripted dialogue about issues concerning Iraq and eventually engaging the visitors in the museum.