Here we are in Mayfair, not far from Bond Street, where we might be in a top store which in the 19th century would have been selling high quality ceramic vases from China, or from one of the renowned European porcelain houses such as Meissen, or from one of the best potteries in Stoke-on-Trent, to be a placed on pedestals in the long galleries of the new country houses of the Nouveau riche.
On pedestals are vases, the decoration of which, like those 19th century Chinese vases tell different stories, but with a modern twist.
In some ways, Grayson Perry continues the long tradition of artistic vases which have been collected and displayed by the super rich. However, Perry turns this on its head with the images and commentary he includes on his vases and also on the rug, print and tapestries on show in his exhibition at the Victoria Miro Gallery which continues his theme of commentary of modern life and politics in Britain with a title that refers not only to the ‘super rich’ who collect his work, but also to over-elaborate interior decoration.
For me the best work here is his tapestry ‘Large Expansive Abstract Painting’ with different layers of complexity – at its base are references to oriental fabrics and designs, overlaid with the shape of the River Thames and then his commentary on many of the issues that seem to fill every moment of modern life. What is worrying is just how many issues there are to worry about: no-wonder we are a stressed society! What is missing is a reference to Brexit – perhaps very sensibly, but when (if) it is all sorted, I can imagine that Perry will have something to say.
While I visited this splendid exhibition I had a fanciful idea. I have no idea why, but I imagined one of our top ballet dancers moving through the gallery, dancing carefully between the delicate vases. Perhaps Perry might consider taking his work into music and dance, beyond the amazing stage curtain he did for Sadlers Wells a few years ago.
Lastly, as a new enterprise, he has moved into design, one of the first examples being limited edition handbags in collaboration with Osprey,