Grayson Perry at The Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh

The last art gallery that I visited before this Grayson Perry exhibition in Edinburgh was The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, I haven’t blogged about that visit yet, I think it’s fair to say that I went from the sublime to the ‘Cor Blimey’. In fact I was sort of in two minds whether to go to this exhibition or not, especially after reading The Guardian review which only gave it 2 stars.  I didn’t find it that bad though, I’d give it at least 3 stars. However, this exhibition isn’t a free one, it costs £19 to get in, luckily we are ‘Friends of the Galleries’ so we didn’t have to pay.

This is a huge exhibition of Perry’s work, the largest one he has ever had and it was so busy, despite the fact that we had to book a time slot before going there, there didn’t seem to be any restrictions on the numbers.

I agree with The Guardian reviewer that there’s too much of Alan Measles in Perry’s work, but Alan M is obviously Perry’s comfort blanket and muse, he’s the teddy bear that he was given when he had measles as a small child, and the real toy bear is too precious to be exhibited, a replica was made.

The art comes in various media, pottery, tapestry, woodcuts, drawings, a model house, motorbike complete with pseudo Alan Measles, iron castings, figures … Alan even makes it onto this pottery plate titled Two Old Guys Wearing Checked Skirts which is apparently also some sort of homage to the late Queen Elizabeth.

Two Old Guys Wearing Checked Skirts, Grayson Perry

What annoyed me though is that the actual pieces seem to me to have been executed in the easiest or laziest of ways. The woodcuts have been drawn and then put through a machine which did the actual woodcutting. He writes that he has nothing to do with a potter’s wheel, his pots are all done using the coiled clay method and built up that way.

This one though is an example of kintsugi, a smashed object glued back together and the joins painted in gold.

Kintsugi Vase by Grayson Perry

The tapestries are done from his drawings and machine made in Spain – fair enough I suppose. I did like the ideas behind the tapestries as they depict the life and death of a Yuppie who was only interested in money and possessions. Some of the wall hangings feature the names of well-known people, it reminded me that in 1970 I wanted to do something similar on an embroidery I was doing at school, except my idea was to embroider the names of favourite characters from classic novels, I was really annoyed when my teacher refused to let me do it – I was obviously ahead of the times. Six years later that teacher became my mother-in-law!

I’m fairly sure that Perry said in an interview some years ago that his cross-dressing had been a bid to get attention – and it worked.

You can see Jack’s thoughts on the exhibition and some of the tapestries here.