Last chance to see Grayson Perry’s brilliant show The Vanity of Small Differences @ Victoria Miro, which will end this Saturday. The inspiration for the artworks shown – 6 colorful large tapestries – was Perry’s exploration of British tastes: a kind of safari through Britain’s social classes, documented in the excellent TV series All in the Best Possible Taste. You can see our pics from the show on Flickr.
The tapestries tell the story of Tim Rakewell and his rise and demise from lower class (first 2 tapestries), through lower middle and upper middle class (next 2 tapestries) and finally reaching the upper class, only to end up dead in a gutter after a lethal accident with his new Ferrari (last 2 tapestries). Apart from the fictive main hero, the narrative makes use of characters, incidents and objects Perry encountered on his journeys through Sunderland, Tunbridge Wells and The Cotswolds.
The artist comments: “The tapestries tell a story of class mobility. I think nothing has such a strong influence on our aesthetic taste as the social class we grow up in. I am interested in the politics of consumerism and the history of popular design but for this project I focus on the emotional investment we make in the things we choose to live with, wear, eat, read or drive. Class and taste run deep in our character. We care. This emotional charge is what draws me to a subject.”
Each of the six images pays also homage to a religious painting: Masaccio’s Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, Matthias Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece, Rogier Van de Weyden’s Lamentation and three different paintings of The Annunciation by Carlo Crivelli, Grünewald and Robert Campin. The images also reference the pictorial display of wealth and status in The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan Van Eyck and Mr & Mrs Andrews by Thomas Gainsborough.
While visiting, make sure you also take the time to see Susan Sze‘s exhibition on the ground floor of the gallery.