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Grayson Perry’s exhibition in Kiasma, Helsinki
Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma has invited British artist Grayson Perry, one of the most astute commentators on contemporary society and culture, to present a major exhibition of sixty works spanning the last two decades on Kiasma’s fifth floor.
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. In Britain he is also a highly regarded public speaker, author and maker of award-winning television documentaries. 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.
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.
Autobiographical references can be read in tandem with questions about décor and decorum, class and taste, and the status of the artist versus that of the artisan. Perry uses ceramics and other art forms to make stealthy comments about society, its pleasures as well as it injustices and flaws, and to explore a variety of historical and contemporary themes.
Talking about the title of his exhibition, Folk Wisdom Perry said: “These are common-sense beliefs passed down orally through generations of ordinary people. They are widely-held ideas which are not necessarily rational or scientifically proven, but in them, more often than not, is a grain of truth”.
Top Image: The Annunciation of the Virgin Deal, 2012. Wool, cotton, acrylic, polyester and silk tapestry. 200 x 400 cm.
Courtesy: The artist and Victoria Miro, London / Venice