Revisit Past Work: Orgreave by Jeremy Deller

British Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale
May 24, 2013 12:47AM

In 1998 I saw an advert for an open commission for Artangel. For years I had had this idea to re-enact this confrontation that I had seen on TV as a young person, of striking miners being chased up a hill and pursued through a village. It has since become an iconic image of the 1984 strike – having the quality of a war scene rather than a labour dispute. I received the commission, which I couldn't believe, because I actually didn't think it was possible to do this. After two years' research, the re-enactment finally happened, with about eight hundred historical re-enactors and two hundred former miners who had been part of the original conflict. Basically, I was asking the re-enactors to participate in the staging of a battle that occurred within living memory, alongside veterans of the campaign. I've always described it as digging up a corpse and giving it a proper post-mortem, or as a thousand-person crime re-enactment.—Jeremy Deller

British Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale
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