Grayson Perry’s 2015/16 exhibition ‘My Pretty Little Art Career’ was probably the first exhibition where I saw gender diversity and sexuality celebrated at a deeply personal level. The large-scale tapestries, ornate vases, meticulous drawings and irreverent photography constructed a schema of an individual who is complex and although influenced by social powers, has an ability to use the forces that would otherwise seek to shape them to generate something entirely their own.
Although Perry is most well known for his commentaries on class and identity, what fascinates me about Perry’s practice is the way his works reflect on thought. Thought, not as something active, but of something guided and directed through mass understanding, corporate messaging and the boundaries of ‘social cohesion’. Often wrapped in the thin veil of ‘the greater good’, what mechanisms make individuals subscribe and adhere to social politics?
More importantly, what do we give up in the process?