Turner winner's tribute

December 10, 2004

Jeremy Deller, the artist who won this year's Turner prize, paid tribute to his former Sussex University tutor, David Mellor, this week, writes Caroline Davis.

"David was the reason I came to Sussex," he said. "I like the way he looks at culture and connects disparate subjects. We share a lot of interests."

Professor Mellor supervised Mr Deller when he studied for an MA in British art history and critical theory at Sussex in 1992. He said he was "moved and delighted" by Mr Deller's success.

Mr Deller already had a masters in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, but was attracted to the somewhat unorthodox and interdisciplinary approach at Sussex.

"He was not somebody who was an art historian," Professor Mellor said. "But he was interested in culture and its representation in a new way."

He described Mr Deller's thesis on the rise of Teddy Boy culture as gripping. "He was so broad and and culturally elastic. You want all students to be like this."

Deller's Turner prize winning film, Texas Memory Bucket , is a journey through the US state and encompasses cultural history, art, politics, film, photography and music.

Professor Mellor believes the success of the artist could encourage a more interdisciplinary approach to art history.

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