Jeremy Deller Curates ‘All That Is Solid Melts Into Air’

Past exhibition
Hayward Gallery Touring

Installation View of Jeremy Deller Curated Exhibition - All That Is Solid Melts Into Air
Installation View of Jeremy Deller Curated Exhibition, All That Is Solid Melts Into Air at Manchester Art Gallery 2013

The Turner Prize winner curates an exhibition that delves into cultural history

In All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller took a personal look at the impact of the Industrial Revolution on British popular culture.

The exhibition investigated what remains from this crucial period in British history: from the regimentation of time and work to industrial accidents and the rise of heavy metal music.

Deller explored how the trauma of the Industrial Revolution and chaotic urbanisation affected British society. He focused on emblematic figures including: James Sharples, a 19th centrury blacksmith and self-taught painter from Blackburn, famous for his much-reproduced image, The Forge; Adrian Street, born into a Welsh mining family, Street rejected a life in the mines to become a flamboyant androgynous international wrestler; rock stars from English industrial towns whose roots can be traced back through generations of workers in factories, mines and mills.  

The radical transformation of the landscape in the early industrial era was powerfully evoked in Victorian images of factories ablaze at night, shown here alongside an apocalyptic painting by John Martin. Industrial folk music and the incessant rhythms and racket of the factory floor permeated the exhibition in sound installation and film.

Deller approaches this wealth of material like a social cartographer, revealing neglected ley lines of cultural history.  

The well illustrated exhibition catalogue, All That Is Solid Melts Into Air: Jeremy Deller, includes an extended text by Jeremy Deller.

Exhibition venues

The exhibition toured to the following venues:

  • Manchester Art Gallery
  • Nottingham Castle, Nottingham
  • Mead Gallery, University of Warwick
  • Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle
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