I visited this exhibition, held in the Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht, on 30 May 2016. The scope of the work exhibited almost took my breath away. There was work from 2005 almost to the present day. Perry works in a huge variety of materials. There were ceramics, wooden and cast iron sculptures, paintings, photographs, fashion, a poem, tapestries.and even his motor bike. “If a bloke has to prove his machismo with a motorbike, then he isn’t very macho.”(1), according to Perry
When I last visited Maastricht I caught a glimpse of Perry discussing this exhibition with the museum curator. He was dressed, on this occasion, as his alter ego, Claire, or as he described in this interview (1) as a fettish, just another part of me. This double persona intrigues me. It is well documented that he had a very troubled childhood. But how troubled and what was the nature of the trouble. I am sure many psychiatrists have examined his work with a view to unraveling his childhood and he is married to one, I believe. In the same interview Perry says of his cross dressing: There is a psychological element to it as well as a sexual one. When asked if being a transvestite has helped his career he says it hasn’t harmed him because: In the crowded cultural landscape, it doesn’t hurt to be known for something different.(1)
Out of this very complicated and troubled persona Perry creates extraordinary art. The intensity of some of the pieces is breathtaking.
His ceramics contain stories within stories:
Perry weaves his beliefs, his passions and his pain into his tapestries. The resulting work can be viewed superficially as a beautifully colourful piece of tapestry. But time taken to examine in detail the stories within these works, is time very well rewarded.
A detail from this tapestry.
A detail of the Walthamstow Tapestry.
And I have not even got around to discussing Measles Man, Perry’s teddy. Suffice it to say that Measles Man has been deified by Perry!!
There was a whole exhibition of dresses Perry designed and wore on certain occasions. The poem about Julie and the art work around it should be the subject of another blog entry.
- Telegraph.co.uk. 2016. Grayson Perry is tired of living a double life – Telegraph. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/8813146/Grayson-Perry-is-tired-of-living-a-double-life.html. [Accessed 01 June 2016].