Grayson Perry: Who Are You?

On Channel 4 recently, artist Grayson Perry tackled identity issues of several diverse individuals as he created bold tapestries, pots and sculptures. His work made from this 3 episode series is featured in the National Portrait Gallery, which earlier in the week I went to visit.

The exhibition explores British identity through portraiture very well; Perry cleverly gives the viewer a sense of familiarity in his work, even if they are not British themselves. His use of iconic and stereotypical phrases, words and images associated with Britain, particularly in his ‘Comfort Blanket’ tapestry is, as described in the titled, comforting.

Famous for his cross-dressing as well as his artwork, tackling identity issues of people in Britain was Perry’s aim, and was something obviously very personal to him. Through creating this tapestry shown below Perry unites all of these isolated individuals by showing them their culture and their interests are quintessentially the same as everyone else’s and suddenly makes them feel like less of an isolated individual, and helps them identify as British rather than someone alone.

Grayson Perry tapestry
I would really recommend visiting the exhibition to see this tapestry and the other work in it’s full size so you are able to read all the phrases they are comprised of.

Perry’s work is scattered around the gallery, submersed in all of the traditional portraits you would expect to see in the NPG. I’m not one for picking up a map in a gallery, however for this exhibition I would recommend it, although all on the first floor, I found myself back tracking to find the pieces of his work I had missed. I thought this was a great way of exhibiting his work, it meant each piece was seen with a fresh pair of eyes and you could give it the attention it deserved, rather than them all being viewed next to each other and you skipping past parts (we all do it).

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