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Grayson Perry's Pots: 'Aspects of Myself and "My Gods"

Contemporary British artist, author and broadcaster Grayson Perry is very well known for his shocking ceramic pots. Two of these seductively beautiful pots have come to the Shetland Museum and Archives From the Tate Gallery. Exhibiting from the 2nd of November to the to the 11th of January. 

The two works from Grayson Perry, 'My Gods' and 'Aspects of Myself' are monuments of the artists life and contemporary practice. The artist observes the world in a personal dissecting of British life, portraying this modern culture and politics in his practice. In Shetland these pots are signifier of these issues and bring to light many underlying problems that small communities may not consider or understand. These works interest the viewer with small motifs signifying these issues. The audience must walk around and entangle these signs for understanding or a connection to their own lives. The curator of the exhibition has placed ‘paddles’ (a wooden plank) next to each pot with printed writing, pointing out and explaining the various motifs on the pots. This takes away from the actual presence of viewing art, especially whilst dealing with these hard-hitting themes. This type of biographical work should be interpreted subjectively. 


As beautiful as the individual works are, the curated exhibition takes it away. The ceramic pieces are surrounded with a mock-up of Grayson Perry’s living room, an array of objects and various boards and paddles of information. This messy accumulation is a visual entanglement of over-contextualization of the simple (but harshly blunt) visual themes. I particularly did not like the biographical objects that the museum has commissioned various higher-up, artsy and affluent members of the community to be involved and not the public.  I think this is clear from the array of objects shown and would have benefited from an array of people, making for a more effective and different aesthetic. Thus a larger variety of visitors.  

As an artist there is always an expectation to curate your work as well as the work around it. This exhibition has shown me how simple and uninformative surrounding to art is the better experience of art and without this curatorial editing of an exhibition. Also the importance of funding, to check and always apply to these funds, however far away. Most importantly I have found out not to fear the public, as if you segregate or pick and choose participants the work becomes banal and obvious


all images: Grayson Perry: A Potted Biography.  In exhitbion at Shetland Museum and Archives, 2019 (photograph taken inside exhibtion by author)

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