Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Grayson Perry Tapestries in Cornwall

Grayson Perry The Vanity of Small Differences Oct 3 - Jan 2 The Exchange, Penzance, Cornwall, UK These six large tapestries show the Hogarthian progress of a male character on a ' Class Journey’ using researches the artist made as he developed his 2012 tv series ' All in the best possible taste'. There were more people in the gallery than I have ever seen there apart from pre Coronavirus opening parties. All were masked and spaced and carefully examining the wealth of detail in the narratives and the way the fabric has a variety of textures. There is also a film about the weaving of the work. Grayson has produced a commentary on contemporary British life and class which can be witty and ingenious - focused on white characters. I enjoyed seeing the show. Grayson points out the art historical influences on the compositions in his lengthy written captions. I don't really like the horror vacui and the rather monotonous tones and textures but I admire the accumulation of observations which relate to class and taste. When Grayson makes a pot there is a satisfying beauty in the symmetry and form which then contrast alarmingly with the applied narrative content that can only be seen from a close look. That strange combination doesn't apply to the tapestries because although there are fascinating details to see up close you can see everything also at a distance. It's been a mammoth task to compile all the images but the all over complexity I find lessens the impact. It's well worth seeing nevertheless and admirable in its satirical contemporary relevance.

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