It is quite hard to write about the artwork of British artist Jeremy Deller, since it doesn’t come across as works of art but conceptual, social-political and sometimes journalistic gestures that he conceives and mostly employs others to carry out. These gestures often bemoan certain injustices that have happened in the country since the 1980’s, as well as celebrate the vernacular or folk art, as the economy changes from a predominantly industrial one to a post-industrial service and entertainment based one, and imagining ‘situations’ where ‘justice would be served’.
But it would be a mistake to consider him someone in love with the traditional or something of a neo-Victorian; for Deller its all about taking mundane or absurd notions and re-constitute them in another light, his ‘inversions’, to make a commentary about the contemporary.
In The Battle of Orgreave (2001) he had a thousand people re-enact the miners strike that happened in 1984 at Orgreave, South Yorkshire, at one of British Steel’s coking plants. This was a rowdy protest that turned violent when the police on horseback charged at protesters who then fled into the nearby town, with riot police pursuing and clubbing the miners in a bloody finale.