Kitsch and English humour at the Monnaie de Paris
#PARIS We met him (her) in mid-October under the glass roof of the Grand Palais on the occasion of the FIAC, the British artist Grayson Perry displays his baroque universe in the rooms of the Monnaie de Paris.
The institution hosts the first major exhibition of Grayson/Claire (her female alter-ego) in France. Laureat of the famous Turner Prize in 2003, he presents his vases, sculptures and tapestries in an apparent disorder. It was through ceramics that he was able to impose his squeaky and corrosive gaze. His biting irony is part of the choice of this medium:”Pottery is to fine arts what suburbs are to beautiful city centres.
Its large jars, of very classic shapes, nevertheless address subjects that are less so, such as identity, masculinity, or sexuality.
Just like ceramics, “identity is made up of a multitude of layers, the gender, the education we have received, the social class, the nationality,” he says to underline the complexity of the issue. “Identity,” he continues,”is also created by others: if I say I’m an artist and no one agrees, I’m not an artist.”
The denial of masculinity/femininity is at the heart of his thinking and he produces huge vases, in the shape of phallus. Pieces he would like to see at the entrance of buildings in the city, temple of masculinity par excellence but which does not admit it!
Brexit is also a great source of shame as well as inspiration for him. It inspires him to create large tapestries, where we find closely intertwined, like the threads he braids, the beautiful values of good “good old United Kingdom”: tea, queen, Agatha Christie or the cow humour of the Monty Python. These kinds of huge wall comics cover all subjects, including good/bad taste (and Grayson Perry knows what he’s talking about) and question the notion of social classes so prevalent in the United Kingdom.
Beyond this apparent lightness, the enormous pink motorcycle he dedicates to his teddy bear-totem Alan Measles, condenses his trajectory as an artist. Warrior masculinity versus this new masculinity, more fluid than it seems to embody, the relationship to the other and to appear, with this last fresco “Lamentation” which seals its vision in a poetic and dark moral memento.
Grayson Perry, Vanity, identity, sexualityMonnaie
quai de Conti, 75006 Paris from
19 October 2018 to 3 February 2019every
day except Monday, 11am-7pm, Wednesday until 9pm
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