Grayson Perry (B. 1960)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Grayson Perry (B. 1960)

Emotional Landscape

Grayson Perry (B. 1960)
Emotional Landscape
glazed earthenware
23 x 14 5/8 x 14 5/8in. (58.5 x 37 x 37cm.)
Executed in 1999
Laurent Delaye Gallery, London.
Acquired from the above by the present owner circa 2000.
J. Klein, Grayson Perry, London 2009 (illustrated in colour, p. 220).
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Grayson Perry: Guerrilla Tactics, 2002, p. 104, no. 33 (illustrated in colour, p. 38). This exhibition later travelled to London, Barbican Centre.
Manchester, Manchester Art Gallery, Grayson Perry: Visual Dialogues, 2011-2012.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Tessa Lord
Tessa Lord

Lot Essay

Created in 1999, Emotional Landscape is an important example of Grayson Perry’s celebrated vases, demonstrating his transformation of pottery into a vehicle for social and political commentary. Unveiled at his first major solo exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam in 2002, it captures the lively anti-establishment rhetoric that has come to be synonymous with his practice. A central placard proclaims ‘No More Art’, foreshadowing the famous banner that Perry himself would brandish outside the Tate Britain the following year. It is situated, however, within the context of a somewhat different protest: the fight against the M11 link-road in the early 1990s. ‘I had a studio in Leytonstone at the time’, he recalls. ‘… I was entranced by the imaginative ways people found to protest. One guy booby-trapped his house with secret tunnels and doors that came down like drawbridges. Others would build scaffolding towers out of the top of their houses, with flags flying on them like medieval fortresses. When the police arrived, the protestors would scurry up and padlock themselves in. I took part in an exhibition in one of the abandoned houses, put on by the protestors. I made a pot for it that got stolen later, when there was another big road protest. This work harks back to that pot’ (G. Perry, quoted in J. Klein, Grayson Perry, London 2009, p. 220). Merging personal and public provocations, the present work demonstrates Perry’s ability to move seamlessly between multiple emotional registers, all the while celebrating the rich creative possibilities of ceramics.

Perry’s relationship with the art world has always been complex. On one hand, he credits it with providing a safe space in which to explore his female alter-ego Claire: indeed, it was she who would stand in protest outside the Tate, and she who would accept the Turner Prize in 2003. Elsewhere, he has spoken of his fascination with the art world’s ceremonies, rituals and pageantry – ‘a sort of folk culture worthy of protection and celebration’, explains Jacky Klein (J. Klein, ibid., p. 199). At the same time, however, he maintains a critical distance from its assumptions, institutional values and, indeed, many of its practitioners. For Perry, whose chosen medium has a long association with craft-based traditions, the term ‘art’ is a loaded one. Though his vases have certainly become part of its currency, they look back to a variety of decorative and ornamental forms, plundering ancient, classical and folk vernaculars using traditional coiling methods. Their surfaces, by contrast, deploy a virtuosic blend of techniques, ranging from embossing, relief and slip trailing to incision and photographic transfer. The result is a polyphonic chorus of associations, transforming pottery’s utilitarian connotations into statements of satire, rebellion and personal expression. The present work’s title captures this shift: the pot becomes a place for confession and self-reflection, casting doubt on the purpose of art even in the process of creating it.

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