Although based in London, England, Jeremy Deller is a constant traveler. Defying attempts at easy categorization, his work combines performance, video, sound, ephemera, and photographs into projects that excavate the history of a particular region. Deller’s process involves physically exploring a place and talking to the people who live there. The results of his research are woven into multi-media pieces that use people and their stories to depict the fabric of their land.
Deller’s last several projects have been investigations of the United States. After the Gold Rush (2002), created during a residency in California, is a tour book turned treasure hunt. The book and CD that comprise the project lead the reader/listener on a linguistic, sonic, and pictorial journey through northern California. Like the folk singers he admires, in this work, Deller spins a tale of the Golden State by celebrating its unknowns.
For This is us (2003), Deller explored upstate New York—an area, like San Francisco, with strong ties to folk culture. Working only with sound, Deller created an audio portrait of the area. He produced a CD and orchestrated a concert, bringing together various contributors to the region’s aural landscape—from a punk band and cheerleaders to birds of prey and a bluegrass group. In this and other works Deller unites diverse elements from an area, with the aim of offering a rich, albeit unconventional, version of place.
Jeremy Deller was born in 1966 in London, England. He studied art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, England, and later at University of Sussex, Brighton, England. Deller is the co-initiator of the Folk Archive. Individual projects include This is us, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY (2003); After the Gold Rush, Capp Street Projects, San Francisco, CA (2002); The Battle of Orgreave (2001); and Karl Marx at Christmas, Fig. 1, London, England (2000). He has been included in group exhibitions at the 50th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2003) the Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland (2003); and the Tate Modern, London, England (2001).