Jeremy Deller @ The Hayward Gallery

Jeremy Deller has made me fall in love with community art. Normally the phrase would make me run a mile. I’d imagine blue rinse brigade sculpture workshops. But through the eyes of JD even forced creativity can be beautiful.

I’ll admit ignorance. Until recently i thought Jeremy Deller was a crime writer. I didn’t know he had won the Turner prize. I had no idea of the sort of art he produced. What turned me onto him was a BBC2 documentary on the eve of his current show. It covered the man and his seminal works. What i saw opened my eyes. I made a date in my diary to go to see it in the flesh.

This Saturday i turned up at 10am on the dot to make sure i was the first person in the gallery. This tactic paid off. The first room of the exhibition was a re-creation of his first ever exhibition, set up in his parents house whilst they were on holiday. As no one else was around it felt like i had a fairly intimate insight into the artists formative years, especially as i was able to sit on his toilet (trousers up obviously). You could see the embryonics of his future achievement on the walls.

To cut a long story short. The rest of the work was incredible. Deller facilitates and curates the human spirit. It’s conceptual art, but with substance, weighted to the gallery floor with the ballast of reality. I’m going to be straight with you. I was, on a couple of occasions, close to tears. Tears of joy.

I have trouble expressing how i feel when i see Deller’s work. When i try to describe it i have all this emotion inside my chest me trying bust through my ribs. I cant get it out quick enough. I try to post rationalise my feelings, but just start spouting empty rhetoric. It’s indescribable. It’s burning wonderment at how incredible life can be. It’s like stumbling across a beautiful sunset whilst on your way to the off licence, stopped dead in your tracks, rushing on the knowledge you were able to experience it.

Often art is designed to remind you of your insignificance. Deller is much more optimistic. An artist that is able to capture and distill the human spirit in their work. He reminds the individual how wonderful they are and that their life can mean something. Deller plants himself firmly on the park bench of life and keeps his eyes peeled. He encourages you to do the same. Thats what makes him a fantastic artist, and in my eyes one of the most significant conceptualists ever.

If I haven’t made it clear to you by now. I really, really, really enjoyed this exhibition.

Please i implore you, go and see it.

Ends 13th May.

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