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Language and creativity
Language and creativity

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5.4 Interview with Jeremy Deller

In the next activity Jeremy Deller discusses his interest in language and its use in his work.

Activity 6

As you watch the video below, consider the following questions:

  • What does he mean when he says his work is ‘this + this = question mark’?
  • In what ways is context important, in his view, for art?
  • Why does he see art as being like a conversation?
Download this video clip.Video player: Jeremy Deller on the use of language in art
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Jeremy Deller on the use of language in art
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In this video Deller explains how he sees his work as playing with different forms as a way of subverting expectations, and thus shifting one’s sense of reality. He approaches it as a sort of experiment: if I juxtapose this thing with that thing, what new effect will this achieve? Context – where something is staged or exhibited – and the meaning drawn from that context, is always therefore an important issue for him; however, as he says, context has been key throughout the history of art. For example, the fact that Renaissance paintings were exhibited in church settings is important for the function they had in cultural life.

He considers his work as operating as a conversation: first, because it’s a two-way process between artist and viewer; second, because it’s also a conversation with himself – a means of trying to work something out in his mind via a process of internal dialogue and negotiation.