Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years
edited by Catrin Jones and Chris Stephens
In 2003 Grayson Perry’s alter ego, Claire, accepted the Turner Prize; he was the first ceramicist to receive the prestigious accolade, due, in the words of one of the judges, to his ‘cultural insight’. Perry has become one of the most compelling commentators on the social mores of our times; politically engaged and sharply witty, he challenges the establishment. While his transvestitism, now iconic, may attract attention, the accessibility and distinctive nature of his art – ranging from ceramic vases and tapestries to film and architecture – has all but turned him into a ‘national treasure’.
In 2018 an appeal was made to the public for early Perry works (1982-94); the response was remarkable, uncovering pieces that had not been seen in public, or by their maker, for many years. Perry said of the collection:
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.
This book records these ‘lost’ works exhibited in the Holborne Museum, Bath (known for its ceramics collection). Entitled Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years, the scope of the exhibition was self-explanatory, allowing insight into the artist’s formative years, leaving his dysfunctional childhood behind and metamorphosing into the artist he was to become.
Drawing inspiration from English folk pottery, he quotes a tin ware toby jug, for example, to deliver a sharp message; he borrows the austere classical lines of a Wedgewood vase to mock senseless trophy giving and the pure lines of an ancient Greek amphora to comment on the superficiality of society. But, unlike the history he references, every pot he coils is way beyond an artefact, it is fine art with a powerful message.
Edition: 1st, 2020
Dimensions: H:25.4cm, W:21.8cm, D:2.3cm
Illustrations: 148 full colour illustrations
ISBN -10:0500094195, ISBN - 13: 978-0500094198