Grayson Perry, ‘Comfort Blanket’, 2014, The Seoul Museum of Art

Grayson Perry enjoys exploring the controversial territory of ‘bad taste’, embellishing ceramics, prints and tapestries with images of everyday people, popular fashions and modern day icons. He also actively mines his own identity and childhood as source material for his work. His alter ego ‘Claire’, with her incredible outfits, has made him a well-known figure and respected cultural commentator in the UK. His practice encompasses curating and television presenting. In the Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman(2011), Perry juxtaposed his own artwork with historic pieces of craft from the British Museum collection. More recently, he hosted a television programme entitled Divided Britain, which explored British identity in the wake of the decision to leave the European Union.
Comfort Blanket is an 8-meter long tapestry taking the form of a British ten-pound note. Describing the work, the artist said ‘it is a portrait of Britain to wrap yourself up in. This huge bill, what we love and hate at the same time, portrays the images of how we try to package ourselves’. The artist produced this work after hearing a friend’s mother’s account of arriving in Britain as a refugee in 1956 and her feeling of relief upon stepping off the airplane as if she was under a ‘comfort blanket’. The richly detailed tapestry incorporates familiar, comforting and often nostalgic symbols of Britain: the Queen, a nice cup of tea, popular radio drama The Archers, and, of course, the British rain. By capturing mundane and monumental images, the artist exaggerates the biases of a nation. The work also brings into question what it might mean to call oneself British today.

Image rights: Courtesy the Artist, Paragon │ Contemporary Editions Ltd and Victoria Miro, London

About Grayson Perry

Winner of the 2003 Turner Prize, Grayson Perry creates ceramics and other objects that explore diverse historical and contemporary themes. Drawn in by the beauty of his objects, which are covered with sgraffito drawing, handwritten and stenciled text, transferred photographs, and sumptuous glaze, at close range viewers apprehend darker subjects and narrative hints to environmental disaster and child abuse. Autobiographical references to the artist's childhood, family, and transvestite alter ego Claire are intertwined with his political and allegorical references, creating a challenging conflict between his dark themes and the rich beauty of his works.

British, b. 1960, Chelmsford, United Kingdom, based in London, United Kingdom