The first exhibition to survey Grayson Perry’s earliest forays into the art world will re-introduce the explosive and creative works he made between 1982 and 1994. These ground-breaking ‘lost’ pots will be reunited for the first time to focus on the formative years of one of Britain’s most recognisable artists.
The show at the Holburne Museum is also remarkable for the fact that many of the 70 items on display have been crowd-sourced from across the UK, following a hugely successful appeal to the public in 2018.
Today, Perry – and his instantly-recognisable alter-ego, Claire – enjoys a reputation bordering on National Treasure status by virtue of his distinctive tapestry, collage and ceramic works – that often explore themes of gender, identity and social class – and his remarkable work as a witty social commentator on television and in print.
The Holburne exhibition will display the earliest works – pots, plates and sculptures – that first made Perry’s name, and will shine a light on his experimentation and exploration of the potential of pottery to address radical issues and human stories. For art lovers, Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years represents a unique opportunity to enjoy the artist’s clever, playful and politically-engaged perspective on the world through a number of pieces, many of which have not been seen in public since they were first exhibited. Often challenging and explicit, these works reveal the early development of Perry’s distinctive voice that has established him as one of the most compelling commentators on contemporary society.
Grayson Perry notes “This show has been such a joy to put together, I am really looking forward to seeing these early works again many of which I have not seen since the eighties. It is as near as I will ever get to meeting myself as a young man, an angrier, priapic me with huge energy but a much smaller wardrobe.”
After opening at the Holburne Museum, Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years will also travel to York (York Art Gallery, 12 June to 20 September 2020) and Norwich (Sainsbury Centre, October 2020 to February 2021).