Grayson Perry’s new exhibition had my friend and I in fits of giggles from the off-start. As soon as we were greeted by the fabulously tacky Hello Kitty-style motorbike at the entrance I couldn’t wait to immerse myself in Perry’s unique artistic visions and find out more about the curious Chelmsford character...
On a first glimpse, Perry’s exhibition isn’t something you’d expect to see at the British Museum. Grand Egyptian sculptures, check. Precious Medieval relics, check. A teddy bear called Alan Measles depicted as a god, erm, check?
The teddy bear may sound like a strange concept but the exhibition actually sits perfectly within the museum. Perry has carefully chosen historical objects made by unknown craftsmen to sit alongside his contemporary works, paying homage to the skill and creativity of many anonymous men and women. And it’s with these crafted objects – old and new – that he explores poignant themes including marriage and the afterlife.
Perry does this very cleverly via his 45-year-old stuffed friend, making thought-provoking statements in a cutesy laugh-it-off way. The stuffed star of the show appears as a golden deity in a shrine, sits enthroned atop the outrageous motorbike and is delicately etched into ornate vases that depict the modern and frivolous age we live in.
Ah yes, the vases. These for me top his adorable teddy bear turned icon. An incredible amount of work has been put into creating future relics depicting modern times that are decorated with everything from YouTube references to an obese teenager.
In his own bizarre way, Perry makes you think about our society and whether it’s changed for the better or for the worse but he manages to do it with lots of humour and without a dab of pretentiousness.
The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsmen by Grayson Perry is on until 19 Feburary 2012. To find out more about the exhibition and the infamous Alan Measles visit The British Museum.
Blogger: Katie Rowe, Copywriter
London born. A bit of a dreamer. Hooked on grand architecture, the Kent coast, music festivals, flea markets, macaroons, roaming the V&A and cats.