GRAYSON PERRY (B. 1960)
GRAYSON PERRY (B. 1960)
GRAYSON PERRY (B. 1960)
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GRAYSON PERRY (B. 1960)
5 More
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
GRAYSON PERRY (B. 1960)

Painful Relic

Details
GRAYSON PERRY (B. 1960)
Painful Relic
glazed ceramic
16 7⁄8 x 8 3⁄4 x 8 3⁄4in. (43 x 22 x 22cm.)
Executed in 1996
Provenance
The Artist.
Private Collection, London.
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.
We will invoice under standard VAT rules and VAT will be charged at 20% on both the hammer price and buyer’s premium and shown separately on our invoice.

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Lot Essay

At once witty and nostalgic, sweeping and anecdotal, Painfull Relic (1996) is an exemplary vase by Grayson Perry. Atop a gilded ground, Perry has decorated the vessel with his transvestite alter-ego Claire set amidst a collage of newsprint, cartoon antiques, and delicately drawn portraits. Floating throughout are diaphanous washes of bright blue which glow ethereally against the golden ground. Painfull Relic possesses a palimpsestic iconography which simultaneously summons Victorian drawing-room aesthetics and man’s first ventures to outer space. The work’s title itself alludes to the long history of reliquaries, or venerated containers created to hold the remains of saints. Believers often make long pilgrimages to these holy objects, which become sites for both communal and private prayer. Here, Perry offers his own take on the concept, suggesting a collision of personal and collective narratives.

It was Perry’s vases that first brought him to public prominence, and he became the first ceramic artist to win the Turner Prize in 2003. While Perry’s pots are made using traditional coiling methods and without assistance, humour and pastiche are equally vital: techniques which allow him to deftly navigate questions of gender, social status, and identity. While ornamental in appearance, these works deliberately challenge the understanding of pottery as a decorative, domestic, and utilitarian craft. Instead, Perry opens the medium by encouraging sociological and psychological discussions; attempting to explain the initial appeal of the medium, Perry has said that he saw pottery ‘as a vehicle for sharing relatively challenging ideas and images’. The pot, he reflected, ‘always remains this stable thing that everybody understands. So you can really push the boat out but it’s still a pot. It was like, I know what that is and that was an anchor for all the other stuff I wanted to put on there’ (G. Perry interviewed by R. Boddington, ‘Defying the Norm’, Its Nice That, 1 March 2021).
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