'#Lamentation', 2012 and 'The Upper Class at Bay', 2012 are two of six tapestries currently featuring in Grayson Perry's 'The Vanity of Small Differences' touring exhibition. This is currently showing at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.
Informed by his explorations into class, taste and culture these works act as a storyboard following Tim Rakewell, the fictional lead, and his progression through the social classes. The works include many of the characters, incidents and objects that Grayson Perry encountered on his journeys through Sunderland, Tunbridge Wells and the Cotswolds for the Channel 4 television series ‘All in the Best Possible Taste with Grayson Perry’.
The works are stunning and the subject matter and story very rich. Each piece is so intricate in both narrative and visual stimuli that it is hard to turn away as you notice more. You begin to find text hidden in the sky line, accurate and clever cultural references to fashion brand and fast food chains or historic similarities between the work and one that has influenced Perry. Perry utilises historic motifs using a still life as symbol of wealth and affluence and mirroring the composition of a biblical scene from a religious painting. William Hogarth’s work has been central to these six outcomes. Like ceramics the use of textiles feeds back into the domestic nature of the subject matter, complementing Perry’s topic of choice.