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  • The Ashford Hijab, Grayson Perry, 2014. Courtesy of the Artist and Victoria Miro, London

Who Are You?

Grayson Perry explores portraiture with an exhibition and tv show

Grayson Perry: Who Are You? looks at the connection between identity and portraiture, with the artist making a tapestry, pots and sculptures to represents individuals in modern Britain. ‘I have always been interested in the things we tend not to think about or take for granted’, says the artist ‘like our sense of aesthetic taste. In this show I investigate our slippery sense of who we feel we are. Identity seems to be something that is only an issue when it is threatened or problematic in some way. I have chosen as my subjects individuals, families or groups who are in situations that highlight certain aspects of being human. I am hoping that they will throw some light on experiences that we all share. With the artworks I have made I have attempted to portray the identity narrative of the subjects, the ongoing process of ‘being ourselves’.

The resulting works are exhibited within the 19th and 20th century collections at the National Portrait Gallery. For example, The Huhne Vase, a portrait of disgraced politician Chris Huhne (purposefully smashed and repaired with gold lacquer resin similar to Japanese kintsugi) can be found opposite portraits of Gladstone and Disraeli. Elsewhere Perry’s tapestry, The Line of Departure, made in the style of Afghan rugs, depicts three wounded war veterans and is surrounded by paintings of Baden Powell, Florence Nightingale and Lord Kitchener among others.

Grayson Perry: Who Are You? is at the National Portrait Gallery until 15 March 2015


I am a Man, Grayson Perry, 2014. Image courtesy the Artist and Victoria Miro, London