The Monnaie de Paris is organising the first major solo exhibition in France by the
celebrated British artist Grayson Perry (born 1960, lives in London). Perry’s works in
traditional materials such as ceramics, bronze, cast iron, printmaking and tapestry,
offer an ironic and darkly humorous look at universal topics such as identity, gender,
class, religion and sexuality.
Perry’s honest and candid unpacking of his own identity is part of what drives his appeal
far beyond the confines of the art world. Autobiographical references – to the artist’s
childhood, his family and his transvestite alter ego Claire – can be read in tandem with
questions about décor and decorum, class and taste, and the status of the artist versus
that of the artisan.
In several of his works he challenges traditional masculinity and demonstrates how its
values and traits have been eroded. These themes are further explored in his book The
Descent of Man (2016), in which he explores the ways in which rigid masculine roles can
be destructive and suggests an upgrade of masculine identity.
The winner of the Turner Prize in 2003, Perry made his name with his ceramic works, which
he began in the 1980s at a time when ceramics were little considered in the contemporary
art world. Covered with sgraffito drawings, handwritten and stencilled texts, photographic
transfers and rich glazes, Perry’s detailed pots are deeply alluring. Only when we are up
close do we start to absorb narratives that might allude to complex subjects, and, even
then, the narrative flow can be hard to discern. He uses the seductive qualities of ceramics
and other art forms to communicate his thoughts on society.
Included in important national collections (Tate Collection, UK, Victoria & Albert Museum,
London, Museum of Modern Art, New York), Perry’s work has been exhibited widely in the
UK (including The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman at the British Museum in 2011–12; and
The Most Popular Art Exhibition at the Serpentine Galleries in 2017) and internationally
(including Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, the Netherlands and ARoS Aarhus Art
Museum, Denmark, in 2016). Invited to coordinate the Summer Exhibition at the Royal
Academy of Arts this year, he also writes and presents a series of television programmes
for Channel 4 on the themes explored in his art, such as the crisis of masculine identity
and the taste and idiosyncrasies of the British.
The exhibition will occupy the two floors of the Monnaie de Paris and be divided into ten
themed chapters that reveal the artist’s interests.
Grayson Perry © Richard Ansett
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The Monnaie de Paris has wanted to show its support
for equality in art and investigate the concept of gender
since 2017. Following the success of the exhibition
Women House, the Monnaie de Paris is pleased to
welcome Grayson Perry, an openly feminist artist and
the theoretician of a new role and place for men in
The link between his practice and the expertise of the
craftsmen of the Monnaie de Paris will be highlighted
by a dialogue between tradition and modernity, in
particular the creation of a new medal designed by the
artist and made by the mint. A selection of religious
medals and collectors’ objects linked to British history
created by the Monnaie de Paris will be presented
with the works of Grayson Perry and his iconographic
A bilingual catalogue will be published with a
introduction written by the artist and entries on the
works glossed by Grayson Perry himself. It will be the
first French publication dedicated to Perry’s art. A
series of lectures on the countertypes of masculinity in
contemporary society will be held during the duration
of the exhibition.
The exhibition is being produced in partnership with
the Kiasma Museum of Helsinki and with the support of
the Victoria Miro gallery in London. It will be organised
by Lucia Pesapane, curator at the Monnaie de Paris,
as part of the arts programme devised by Camille
Morineau, the Exhibitions and Collections Director.