Jeremy Deller. So many ways to hurt you, the life and times of Adrian Street.

by florence cheval

Dennis Hutchinson, The pro westler Adrian Street and his father, the coalminer, 1973.

So many ways to hurt you, the life and times of Adrian Street is a film by Jeremy Deller that tells the story of Adrian Street, the son of a coalminer who decided to become a pro wrestler.

Adrian Street was born into a coal mining family in Wales in 1940. As a teenager he was fascinated by bodybuilding but was ridiculed in his community and abused in the mine – this interest being seen as effeminate rather than macho. He fled to London in the 1956 to pursue a career as a professional wrestler. Whilst hanging out in Soho with the likes of Francis Bacon and Leigh Bowery, he developed a persona that combined the hyper-camp of the post war pop culture with the hard-as-nails attitude of his working class past. His increasingly exotic image took him to America where he now lives, still wrestling in his 70s and running an artisan cottage industry, producing bespoke costumes to the wrestling industry.

Jeremy Deller’s movie, and his work in general, show a great capacity to excavate various aspects of folk art in the United Kingdom and to bring them inside contemporary art. The question of folk performance art is a main focus in his work.

The film has been shown during the Sao Paulo Bienal in 2010.
Manifesta 9 curators invited Jeremy Deller to show it again during Manifesta 9 Coffee Break in Genk (Dec 9th, 2011).