Artist biography

English conceptual artist. His eclectic work engages on a broad level with popular and traditional culture; his forays into folk art are deliberately low-brow, anti-urban and characterised by an entertaining lightness of touch. He often works collaboratively; for the 1996 work Acid Brass, presented live and on CD, he instigated the incongruous transcription of a number of acid house anthems for a traditional brass band. The strange juxtaposition of traditional brass band and contemporary dance music forced a revealing relationship between the old and the new and suggested the possibility not just of a collision but of an interaction between the cultures represented by these distinct musical forms. This approach was continued in the exhibition The Uses of Literacy (Norwich, Gal., 1997) for which Deller solicited and displayed material from fans of the rock group Manic Street Preachers; this was later published in book form again using a title borrowed from a classic analysis of popular culture by Richard Hoggart (London, 1957). Deller continued this accumulative, laissez-faire strategy in the Folk Archive project, begun in 1999 with Alan Kane (b. 1961). The artists described this work as a ‘celebration of subjectivity', and underlined the authenticity of the archived objects and documents. An Introduction to the Folk Archive (2000), a selective display of their findings from diverse sources such as morris dancing, gurning competitions and political demonstrations, was included at the exhibition Intelligence: New British Art (London, Tate, 2000).

Bibliography
Intelligence: New British Art (exh. cat. by V. Button and C. Esche, London, Tate, 2000)

JOHN-PAUL STONARD
10 December 2000

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