Jeremy Deller: Joy in People

Jeremy Deller: Joy in People

WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels

Jeremy Deller, Exodus, 2012. Still from film.*

May 10, 2012

Jeremy Deller
Joy in People 

1 June–19 August 2012

Opening: Thursday 31 May, 18.30
Hours: Wednesday–Sunday 11–18

Avenue Van Volxemlaan 354
1190 Brussels, Belgium

T +32 (0)2 340 00 53

Jeremy Deller has never been that interested in academic rules and has always preferred to work with people and their habits, symbols, and social rituals. His practice has introduced radical changes to the themes, forms, and public function of contemporary art, and yielded a body of work thoroughly informed by the anthropological and ethnographic gaze he casts on Western society in general, and British society in particular. Folk or ‘popular’ culture attracts his interest because it combines wit, inventiveness, and creativity in a way that distinguishes it clearly from mass culture. Deller works as an assembler of components, as ‘director’ of collective actions, organising parades that reconstruct historical events, making films, curating exhibitions and intervening in public space. Jeremy Deller has helped to rewrite the rules of contemporary art. Alternately taking on the roles of artistic producer, publisher, filmmaker, collaborator, curator, parade organiser, and cultural archivist, Deller has invented new ways of exploring the social landscape. This comprehensive survey—the first in the artist’s career—provides a fresh overview of his multi-faceted work.

The exhibition Joy in People provides a great overview of the artist’s multi-faceted work and incorporates almost all of his major works to date, including installations, parade floats, photographs, videos, posters, banners, performance works, and sound pieces. It features, moreover: a reconstruction of Open Bedroom, the artist’s first exhibition, held in 1993 in his bedroom in his parent’s house; a two-part installation based around Deller’s epic project The Battle of Orgreave (An Injury to One is an Injury to All) 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.

Deller has frequently explored and elaborated on the social meanings of popular music. This exhibition will include a number of his pioneering collaborative projects with rock fans, such as The Uses of Literacy, 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, for which Deller commissioned a traditional brass band to play contemporary acid house music.

New commissions include Exodus, a 3-D film depicting a twilight scene of 20 million bats flying out of a cave in Texas, and Beyond the White Walls, 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 reflects the witty playfulness, the generosity of ideas, and the intelligent provocation characteristic of his work.

Deller was awarded the Turner Prize in 2004. His works can be seen at a numerous museums and biennials around the world.

Exhibition organised by the Hayward Gallery London (curated by Ralph Rugoff) in association with WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels.

Complementary Program: more info on

Press contact
Micha Pycke
T +32 (0)2 340 00 51
M +32 (0)486 680 070

*Image above:
Jeremy Deller, Exodus, 2012. Still from film. Copyright the artist. Image courtesy the artist.

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WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels
May 10, 2012

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