Grayson Perry explores subjects that are universally human: identity, gender, social status, sexuality and religion. He is a great chronicler of contemporary life, yet he favours traditional materials and techniques such as ceramics, cast iron, bronze, printmaking and tapestry.
The artist speaks openly and unabashedly about his own identity and there is a strong autobiographical element in his work. During childhood, he retreated into a private world of fantasy, and in his teens Perry discovered his predilection for cross-dressing. His female alter-ego Claire and his childhood teddy bear Alan Measles appear in many of his works.
Perry is celebrated for his ability to combine highly crafted objects with scenes of contemporary life. His subject matter is drawn from his own childhood and life as a transvestite, as well as wider social issues from class, sex and religion, masculinity and the current cultural and political landscape.
Folk Wisdom includes Perry’s important recent work Matching Pair, 2017 – two monumental pots – which were made about Brexit and the battle between those who voted for Britain to leave the EU and those who wished to remain. They were created following an appeal by Perry through social media, when he invited the public to contribute ideas, images, phrases and photographs to represent the things people loved about Britain, their favourite brands, who represented their values and their thoughts about Brexit. That they look remarkably similar is, according to Perry, ‘a good result, for we all have much more in common than that which separates us.’
Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma Website