Grayson Perry: The Vanity of Small Differences


Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery

Culture

10th Jul 2024 - 8th Dec 2024

Sunday 14th July

Grayson Perry: The Vanity of Small Differences

Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery in Ealing, London, are hosting Grayson Perry's exhibition, The Vanity of Small Differences, from 10 July to 8 December 2024. 

This significant cultural event displays Perry's six monumental tapestries for the first time in the historic house where William Hogarth's A Rake's Progress, the inspiration for the series, were bought for and displayed—providing a remarkable opportunity to draw parallels between two artists who, despite being separated by centuries, share a profound interest in the moral and social narratives of their times.

The work of Turner Prize-winning artist Sir Grayson Perry CBE RA Hon FRIBA, much like Hogarth's, serves as a mirror to society, reflecting and dissecting the complexities of modern existence with a blend of wit and pathos. Visitors to Pitzhanger will have the unique opportunity to compare them with Hogarth's original engravings of A Rake's Progress, displayed in their historical setting alongside newly arrived prints of Gin Lane and Beer Street. This juxtaposition allows for a deeper appreciation of the enduring nature of social critique through art, and the ways in which both Hogarth and Perry address the perennial questions of morality, consumerism, and the human condition.

Taking Hogarth's famed series as a starting point, Perry's tapestries depict the complex 'class journey' of the fictional protagonist, Tim Rakewell. Perry also weaves in art historical references such as Thomas Gainsborough's Mr and Mrs AndrewsThe Arnolfini Portrait by Jan Van Eyck, with each piece paying homage to a religious work of art.  

"The tapestries tell the story of class mobility," Perry remarks. "... for this project, I focus on the emotional investment we make in the things we choose to live with, wear, eat, read, or drive."

Perry employs the traditional medium of tapestry, historically a symbol of aristocratic grandeur, to elevate the mundane realities of modern British life. Each tapestry is a vibrant tableau, crammed with contemporary iconography and layered with references to classical religious art. From the Masaccio-inspired Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, to The Agony in the Car Park echoing Andrea Mantegna, the series is imbued with both reverence and irreverence, challenging the viewer to reconsider the sanctity of everyday objects and rituals.

From July to December the engaging, detailed depictions of British society by both artists can be enjoyed in a beautiful setting that bridges the past and present.

pitzhanger.org.uk

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