The former colliery site at Woodhorn Museum will provide a particularly poignant location for Jeremy Deller’s artwork on The Battle of Orgreave – an exhibition which opens today.
The battle was a violent confrontation between miners and police which took place during the 1984/5 miners’ strike. Jeremy Deller’s artwork was a spectacular recreation of the event orchestrated for Deller by a historical re-enactment expert and involving nearly 1,000 people, including former miners and former policemen.
The exhibition at Woodhorn includes not only a documentary film of the re-enactment directed by Mike Figgis, but a range of objects, images and audio recordings from the artist’s research materials.
Woodhorn’s new chief executive, Rowan Brown, said: “At the time of the miners’ strike, thousands of local men and women were still employed in the coal industry and supporting enterprises.
“As in South Yorkshire, passions ran high in the Northumberland coalfields. The Deller work is certain to bring the issues and events of that traumatic time back into sharp focus.”
Artist Jeremy Deller compares the miners’ strike to the English Civil War: “It would not be an exaggeration to say that the strike, like a civil war, had a traumatically divisive effect at all levels of life in the UK.”
Mr Brown added: “The legacy of the miners’ trike lives on in former coalfield communities. Deller’s Battle of Orgreave is an important and thought-provoking piece of work by one of our most significant contemporary artists and we are thrilled to be able to bring this Turner Prize-winner’s work to Woodhorn Museum.”
Jeremy Deller, The Battle of Orgreave (An Injury to One is an Injury to All) is on display at Woodhorn from today until Sunday, July 9.
The artwork is part of the Artangel Collection, an initiative to bring outstanding film and video works, commissioned and produced by Artangel, to galleries and museums across the UK.