Image: Jeremy Deller, So Many Ways to Hurt You (The Life and Times of Adrian Street) 2010, Installation view Joy in People, Hayward Gallery, London, 2012, Courtesy the Artist and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow, Photo: Linda Nylind
Jeremy Deller was born in London in 1966 and studied at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London and Sussex University. In 2004 he won the Turner Prize and in 2013, represented Britain at the Venice Biennale with an exhibition entitled English Magic.
Deller’s work focuses primarily on British society – its people, icons, myths, folklore and its cultural and political history. A recurring theme is popular music and previous works have included references to artists such as The Beatles, Depeche Mode and David Bowie. In Acid Brass (1997), Deller forged an unexpected musical connection; in collaboration with the Williams Fairey Brass Band from Stockport in the north of England, he asked them to rearrange and perform acid house tracks such as ‘Pacific 202’ by 808 State and ‘Voodoo Ray’ by A Guy Called Gerald. The resultant music is surprising in its seamless fusion of traditional and contemporary references, introducing the history and appeal of both musical genres to a new audience.
Deller delights in eccentricity and the stories of fascinating lives. So Many Ways to Hurt You (The Life and Times of Adrian Street) (2010) is a documentary that charts the life of a cross-dressing wrestler, from his childhood growing up in a South Wales mining community to a life of glitz and glamour in the USA. The film is accompanied by a fantastical mural, which translates elements of the film, in glorious Technicolor, onto the gallery wall.