By Julia Champtaloup
By Julia Champtaloup
With a keen eye for detail and a love of the popular and vernacular, Grayson Perry is known for his ceramics, sculptures, drawings, prints and tapestries. An astute chronicler of contemporary life, he infuses his artworks with a sly humour and reflection on society past and present. Perry’s multi-faceted practice explores themes such as the history of taste and social class in Britain, religious and folk iconography and representations of gender and sexuality. Perry has favoured a flamboyant style of work that creates a more accessible aesthetic, working to break the divide between high art and popular culture.
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney is presenting the first major exhibition of Perry’s work in the southern hemisphere, curated by senior curator Rachel Kent. ‘Grayson Perry is one of best known British artists of his generation. With his strong commitment to audiences and his media presence, Grayson’s appeal extends beyond the art world. It is exciting to be welcoming him and his work to Sydney.”
The artist’s highly decorated ceramic pots in particular reveal a panoply of imagery ranging from the highly personal to the political; their subjects including his own childhood and family, the art world, Biblical stories, the Royal family and images of warfare and sexual fantasy. Embellished with photographic transfers and text, they are well known for their unique combination of pathos and wit.
Perry’s transvestism and feminine alter ego Claire – described by the artist as ‘a central plank of my creative drive’ – emerges through his practice as a recurring visual motif. He is often seen at public events dressed as Claire in ’special’ dresses that have been made for him by art students or other friends and his hair in pig tails.
The MCA exhibition includes the full spectrum of Grayson Perry’s practice from the early 1980s to the present, including ceramic works, sculptures, and his ambitious, large-scale tapestries including the six-part tapestry cycle The Vanity of Small Differences (2012), created by Perry alongside his acclaimed Channel 4 television series In the Best Possible Taste ( 2012). Both projects brought him further into the mainstream public limelight along with another series of tapestries and portraiture on class and British identity at the National Portrait Gallery (2014).
Grayson Perry held his first solo exhibition in Britain in 1984 and has exhibited his works internationally since the early 1990s. He was awarded the prestigious Turner Prize in 2003, and in 2011 combined his own works with historical artefacts from the British Museum collection in Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman.
Grayson Perry will be visiting Sydney for the opening events of the exhibition and delivering a keynote lecture at the Sydney Opera House. Grayson Perry: My Pretty Little Art Career (10 December 2015-1 May 2016) is Sydney-exclusive exhibition.
Where: Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
When: 10 December 2015-1 May 2016, Mon-Wed: 10am-5pm, Thu: 10am-9pm, Fri-Sun: 10am-5pm