The Uses of Literacy

Deller, Jeremy
'The Uses of Literacy' is a key early work by Deller, and elaborates in physical form his frequently employed strategy of working with particular interest groups and communities. Deller took the title of his work from Richard Hoggart's seminal 1957 book 'The Uses of Literacy' which located popular culture within a wider sociological and political context, within the lives of the working class. For this project, Deller advertised for material donated by fans of the Welsh band The Manic Street Preachers in the weekly music paper 'Melody Maker'. He was overwhelmed by the response. His initial intuition, that the band's engagement with art and literature served to unite a socially and geographically displaced group of individuals, was proven emphatically correct. The result is a display of paintings, collages, drawings, books, poetry and ephemera arranged informally on the wall and on a reading table. Deller himself does not appropriate the work as his own, but acts more as director or curator of it, reversing the usual hierarchical order by placing the work of amateurs in the gallery. Caroline Douglas
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  • Material description: Mixed media installation
  • Credit line: Purchased with the assistance of The Art Fund. © the artist
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  • Accession number: ACC1/2009



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