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© Tim Walker
Monnaie de Paris is organising the first major solo exhibition in France by the celebrated British artist Grayson Perry (born 1960, lives in London). Perry’s works in traditional materials such as ceramics, bronze, cast iron, printmaking and tapestry, offer an ironic and darkly humorous look at universal topics such as identity, gender, class, religion and sexuality.
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.
In several of his works he challenges traditional masculinity and demonstrates 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.
The winner of the Turner Prize in 2003, 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, Perry’s 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.
Included in important national collections (Tate Collection, UK, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, Museum of Modern Art, New York), 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 exhibition will occupy the two floors of the Monnaie de Paris and be divided into ten themed chapters that reveal the artist’s interests. 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 will be 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 will be 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.
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Press kit - GRAYSON PERRY Exhibition | pdf 3 Mo