This exhibition has ended up being about home. We had no plan to make another show about the UK but I suppose given the purpose and history of the British Council Collection and our separate enthusiasms, it was sort of always going to happen. The subject may not be immediately recognisable though (especially to anyone born after 1970), as in the 1980's the UK got a sort of TV makeover - a lick of paint and some up-lighters etc. - but the works we are showing indicate a Britain just below the plasterboard of this ‘flip’ job, a draughty and slightly damp property with foundations that you feel connect it, back through mud and bones, to all you think of when you talk of British history. It is a very physical connection and it feels different from the connection we have to our more recent history, which we seem to be sort of observing like tourists. This feeling may be because our exposure to the kinds of works we are presenting was from before the explosion of communications of recent years, or it may just be a sign of ageing and a curmudgeonly disposition toward the less slick. In either case it is heartening that there is a forthright national collection of art, with the purpose of promoting British culture around the world that has the depth and spirit to show many versions of OUR YARD.
Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane
Please note that the Whitechapel Gallery is closed over the Christmas break from 6pm, Wednesday 23 December 2009 and will reopen at 11am, Saturday 2 January 2010.