Playground For Adults

By Fleur Chattillon

As kids, playing is a part of learning and exploring new things. You develop your imagination and learn the ways of the world. As adults, we are discouraged from playing and often don’t get to let our imaginations run wild anymore. Well, Jeremy Deller, an English conceptual, video and installation artist, thinks differently than this. He believes in the alchemical power of art and sees it as magic, by using the play of pop culture in his art; A way to still play as an adult and transform the everyday. Find out more In Playground For Adults.

Deller has a huge variety in his artwork when it comes to the medium he uses and the messages he is trying to send. Much of Deller’s work is collaborative; it has a strong political aspect, in the subjects dealt with and also the devaluation of artistic ego through the involvement of other people in the creative process.

Portrait of Jeremy Deller

He won the Turner Prize in 2004 with his video study of George Bush’s home state, which included a video travelogue which features supporters and opponents of the US president. This was one of the many political artworks he made.

He has also made many conceptual artworks and sometimes almost childlike because they were colourful, funny, fantastic and happy pieces with all their hidden messages and deeper meanings.

“If only for a moment, making the mundane profound”

Jeremy Deller

Most conceptual artists want to let their work speaks for themselves and maybe let people guess what they mean or get their own opinion out of them. But besides the fact that Jeremy Deller wants you to enjoy his works playfully, he also felt the need to give them some elaboration. And that is what he does in his new book ‘Art is Magic’, a children’s book for adults.

‘Justified and Ancient’, 2014, artwork by Jeremy Deller

In this book, he explains to us how he sees art as a way to stay engaged and in love with the world. Just like children do this by playing. He also tells us that art, in a way, is a form of magic and that it has the power to transform reality, so it is okay to let your imagination run wild.

‘Sacrilege’ (inflatable Stonehenge) Glasgow 2012, artwork and photo by Jeremy Deller

Especially as a child, it’s good to make mistakes and sometimes be stupid and even get hurt while playing, because you learn from it. According to Deller, this is also the way he sees his artworks, they do not have to be safe and logical all the time and can even be absurd or stupid.

‘Welcome to the Shitshow’ 2019, artwork by Jeremy Deller

He also explains that there were many different titles for the book at first before deciding on ‘Art is Magic’, and some of the titles came from quotes people said about his art. Such as ‘This is not art’, ‘What were you thinking?’ and ‘What’s the point of that?’. All these quotes sum up what the Art of Deller is about. It does not have to make sense and he just wants to make and play with his work in his way.

Bookpage of ‘Art is Magic’ written by Jeremey Deller

In the book, he covers all of the key works of his career and connects them to music, art, pop, film, politics and the history that inspired them, which also contains a lot of political events.

Still from ‘Everybody in the Place’ 2018, Film by Jeremy Deller

Tonight at 7.30 pm in the Southbank Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Jeremy Deller gives a Q & A about his new book and elaborates more about what it entails.

The Southbank Centre is one of the largest arts centres in the UK. They seek out the world’s most exciting artists, from household names to fresh new talent, and give them space to showcase their best work. Such as Jeremy Dellers Q & A, but many more events are happening at the moment from poetry to music to Art displays. And a lot of them are completely free to visit.

A few of the events that are coming up are things like a ‘BBC Radio 2 Sounds of the 80s: The Live Tour, this Thursday the first of June.

You can retrace David Bowie’s long history of appearances at the Southbank Centre in a free display of never-before-seen archive material. Ongoing from 21 Apr –⁠ 18th of June.

Or join a poetry workshop: Writers of any level can join Oluwaseun Olayiwola online in this session considering the meaning of poetry in the face of a climate crisis, Saturday 10th of June at 11am.

And these are just a few examples of all the events ongoing at The Southbank Centre.

Get inspired to go play, explore and have fun yourself and let your imagination run as you dive into the world of Art and specifically the art of Jeremy Deller.

You can buy the book Art is Magic here

For more information about The Southbank Centre go here

To buy tickets for the Southbank Centre event of Jeremy Deller go here

If you enjoyed reading Playground For Adults why not read All Things Bright And Beautiful ? 

.Cent London, Be inspired; Get involved.

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