“Do not look hard for meaning here. I am not an art historian. I am an artist. That is all you need to know”
With this promising entry, the exhibition starts. You enter the imaginary world that lives in Grayson Perry’s head.
The exhibition combines objects that belong to the regular exhibition of the British Museum and some objects that were created based on inspiration of those first named.
But what is the meaning of this comparison? It doesn´t really matter.
There is a central figure in this show and it is a bear that is called Alan Measles. This 50 year old teddy is the God and guru that rules the cosmology of Grayson Perry to, sometimes, a scary level.
The journey around every object is absolutely delicate and amusing. Grayson Perry is a potter, and a refined one at that, the first potter to win a Turner Prize. I was impressed not only with the vases, but more with the illustrations that decorate them – there is a message behind the drawings or the words written on each vase.
There are shrines, rugs, vases, drawings, maps, and lot of ‘souvenirs of pilgrimage’, as he refers to them.
Grayson Perry is a character himself. He has a public persona called Claire, his female alter-ego.
There are cultural conversations between this objects. Perry says that “cultures borrow and adapt” and you can see this in the different artifacts that the exhibition displays. “Craftsmen make artifacts they think will appeal to visitors from abroad. Sometimes they get it wrong in a charming way”. These artifacts are linked to the creation of the new ones that are exhibited. Perry spent 2 years in the British museum thinking about this exhibition and looking for objects behind closed doors.
He took his teddy bear and childhood hero, Alan Measles, across Bavaria on a highly decorated Kenilworth AM1 motorcycle. The motorcycle is in the exhibition as well. It is absolutely stunning.
This bike has a shrine on the back for his teddy bear, whose inaugural voyage, Ten Days of Alan, takes them across Bavaria on a mission of reconciliation with their old enemies from Germany who fought the British in his imaginary battles. They wanted to make peace.
I was amazed by this exhibition. It’s a must see. You have one more week. Go.
For more information about tickets here