Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grayson Perry The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman

I went to see Grayson Perry's latest exhibition at the British Museum, The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman last week. Exhibition info here.
I really like Grayson Perry's work, including his vibrant irreverent ceramic pieces, with their collaged surfaces and painted and scratched designs of which there were several in the exhibition. He had spent a few years researching the objects in the British Museum with the help of curators and brings together some intriging objects including Tibetan travelling shrines, maps and headresses. At the entrance to the exhibition is the customised motorbike he used for a pilgrimage with his bear Alan Measles, who is the god of Grayson Perry's imaginary world.

Alan Measles voices part of his history on the British Museum website

"So around the year 2000 Gray starts to celebrate me once more this time not as a swashbuckling hero but as a wise old friend. He finds me matured, no longer seeking endless vengeance and having to win every race. But as I re-enter the conscious human world one blot mars my new found contentment. Someone has tried to usurp my iconic position as the go-to teddy bear, someone yellow with a remarkably similar injury, an evil twin if you will. Yes, I mean that po-faced inanely smiling do-gooder Pudsey bear."

In his Head of a Fallen Giant, the head was made of hundreds of cultural icons, from Lewis chessmen , CND signs, post boxes and Tower Bridge, to country cottages and acorns.

Grayson Perry writes, " Part of my role as an artist is similar to that of a shaman or witch doctor. I dress up;I tell stories, give things meaning and make them a bit more significant"

The heart of the exhibition is his tomb to the unknown craftsman a cast iron ship full of cultural objects made by unknown craftsmen and including an ancient flint axe head, the original tool of them all.

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