The Monnaie de Paris is presenting the first French solo exhibition of the Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry (born 1960). Perry works in traditional materials such as ceramics, bronze, cast iron, printmaking and tapestry. His darkly humorous ironic perspective of universal, topics such as identity, gender, class, religion and sexuality are explored in this major new show.
The exhibition at the Monnaie de Paris is divided into ten themed chapters that reveal the artist’s interests
Perry’s honest and candid unpacking of his own identity is part of what drives his appeal far beyond the confines of the art world. Autobiographical references – to the artist’s childhood, his family and his transvestite alter ego Claire – 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.
Many of his works challenge traditional masculinity and demonstrate how its values and traits have been eroded. These themes are further explored in his book The Descent of Man (2016), in which he explores the ways in which rigid masculine roles can be destructive and suggests an upgrade of masculine identity.
Grayson Perry made his name with his ceramic works, which he began in the 1980s at a time when ceramics were little considered in the contemporary art world. Covered with sgraffito drawings, handwritten and stencilled texts, photographic transfers and rich glazes, His detailed pots are deeply alluring. Only when we are up close do we start to absorb narratives that might allude to complex subjects, and, even then, the narrative flow can be hard to discern. He uses the seductive qualities of ceramics and other art forms to communicate his thoughts on society.
Important collections including Tate, Victoria & Albert Museum, Museum of Modern Art, New York, have work by the artist. Perry’s work has been exhibited widely in the UK (including The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman at the British Museum in 2011–12; and The Most Popular Art Exhibition at the Serpentine Galleries in 2017) and internationally (including Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, the Netherlands and ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Denmark, in 2016). Invited to coordinate the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts this year, he also writes and presents a series of television programmes for Channel 4 on the themes explored in his art, such as the crisis of masculine identity and the taste and idiosyncrasies of the British.
The Monnaie de Paris has wanted to show its support for equality in art and investigate the concept of gender since 2017. Following the success of the exhibition Women House, the Monnaie de Paris is pleased to welcome Grayson Perry, an openly feminist artist and the theoretician of a new role and place for men in society. The link between his practice and the expertise of the craftsmen of the Monnaie de Paris will be highlighted by a dialogue between tradition and modernity, in particular the creation of a new medal designed by the artist and made by the mint. A selection of religious medals and collectors’ objects linked to British history created by the Monnaie de Paris are being presented with the works of Grayson Perry and his iconographic sources.
The exhibition is being produced in partnership with the Kiasma Museum of Helsinki and with the support of the Victoria Miro gallery in London. It has been organised by Lucia Pesapane, curator at the Monnaie de Paris, as part of the arts programme devised by Camille Morineau, the Exhibitions and Collections Director.
Born in Chelmsford, Essex in 1960, Grayson Perry lives and works in London. The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! was on view at Serpentine Galleries London, during the summer of 2017, travelling subsequently to Arnolfini, Bristol. Institutional venues for other solo exhibitions include ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Aarhus (2016); Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht (2016); Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2015 – 2016) and Turner Contemporary, Margate (2015). In 2011, The British Museum opened The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, a show in which Perry combined his own works with historical artefacts chosen from the British Museum collection.
The Vanity of Small Differences is a monumental suite of tapestries exploring the subject of taste in contemporary Britain. The making of these works was chronicled in the first of Perry’s Channel 4 television series, All In the Best Possible Taste, a 2013 Bafta Specialist Factual winner. Perry’s second Bafta-winning television series Who Are You?, about identity, was broadcast in 2014, accompanied by a solo presentation of works at the National Portrait Gallery, London. The series All Man, which considered masculinity, followed in 2016, with Allen Lane publishing the related book The Descent of Man. Perry delivered The Reith Lectures, BBC Radio 4’s annual flagship talk series, in 2013; his ensuing book Playing to the Gallery is published by Penguin. The artist’s A House for Essex, a permanent building designed in collaboration with FAT Architecture, was constructed in the North Essex countryside in 2015.
Work by the artist is held in museum collections worldwide, including The British Museum, London; Tate Collection, London; Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Stedelijk Museum; Amsterdam; Victoria & Albert Museum, London and Yale Center for British Art, New Haven.
Winner of the 2003 Turner Prize, Perry was elected a Royal Academician in 2012, and received a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2013; he has been awarded the prestigious appointments of Trustee of the British Museum and Chancellor of the University of the Arts London (both in 2015), and received a RIBA Honorary Fellowship in 2016.
Grayson Perry Monnaie de Paris 11, quai de Conti 75006 PARIS Until 3 February 2019