Grayson Perry, National Portrait Gallery
Delving into the issues of British identity at the National Portrait Gallery: Grayson Perry presents a new series of portraits
Host of the BBC Radio 4 Reith Lectures 2012 and Turner Prize winner 2003, the cross-dressing potter Grayson Perry is clearly someone who knows who he is. After the success of the Channel 4’s ‘In the Best Possible Taste’ series, from which Perry created a series of monumental and startling tapestries in response to the three-tiered class system, it is no surprise to see him back on our televisions in a new three part documentary entitled ‘Who Are You?’. The National Portrait Gallery exhibition presents the results of Perry’s latest investigation into British identity with portraits of celebrities like X-Factor contestant Rylan Clark, to the more everyday such as a Muslim convert, a couple living with Alzheimers and deaf parents.
The format of the Channel 4 show sounds a little like Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen in Changing Rooms where after an hour of getting to know the individual, Perry reveals his portrait (which could be in a number of different materials) to a stunned sitter. In this interesting look at the relationship between sitter and artist, and the confrontation of oneself through the eyes of another, we are particularly looking forward to seeing ex Liberal Democrat minister Chris Huhne’s reaction to Perry’s work after the artist visited him on the day he was released from prison last year.
Aside from these 14 portraits, make sure you also catch Perry’s self portrait and a major new tapestry which continue his challenge to social issues surrounding class, politics, sex and religion.
These curiously provocative works which hold up a mirror for individuals to consider themselves from the perspective of this unconventional, transvestite artist are certainly worth paying a visit.