Monday, 27 October 2014

Grayson Perry's The Vanity of Small Differences

I've been meaning to visit Grayson Perry's The Vanity of Small Differences ever since it opened at Temple Newsam, near Leeds back in August.  I have never seen any of his works in the flesh so I was more than happy to get the opportunity to pop to Leeds last week and see this exhibition.  
Grayson Perry image from exhibition book cover


While I was inside the house Mr D and Fizz explored the house's extensive grounds. Fizz chased squirrels and swam in the lake for extra fun!  The entrance fee of £4.50 allows you into the house and exhibition  (free for Art Fund members).  I took the opportunity to look around the house before making my way to the second floor where the exhibition was held. The house has some interesting elements (and super friendly and helpful staff) but I would not have gone had it not been for the exhibition.  My lasting impression of the house is of it being quite dark (the tapestries themselves were well lit) so seeing the first (of six) of the exhibition tapestries in all its bright multi colour glory made a vivid impact.  

The six tapestries follow the life of Tim Rakewell and his rise through the social classes. Each one explores an element of his life from birth to death. They are jam packed with visual and cultural references of modern life so there is lots to look at!  The exhibition wasn't very busy so I was able to sit in front of each one, take in the work and try and work out the story before reading the notes in the informative free leaflet.  The tapestries did not dominate the space they were hung in which made sitting and looking at them a really enjoyable experience.
grayson perry tapestry one photo from postcard
Unlike a lot of Modern Art, Perry's series of tapestries for The Vanity of Small Differences was really easy to engage with and understand.  There was a lot of text sewn into the tapestries which explained the story of each one.  Some of this text was obvious but there was also hidden words which took some seeing!  

I would highly recommend seeing this if you are interested in art of any genre.  I got a lot out seeing the tapestries and would happily go back again.  There is so much visual information that you would spot different things each time.  Mr D and I can also recommend the cafe in the Stable Courtyard, a short walk from the house itself.  We had lunch there (Mr D a burger and I the stew) both made  using the estates own rare breed meat.  Very nice indeed! The Vanity of Small Differences is at Temple Newsam until the 7th December 2014. 

Have you been anywhere recently? Let me know........ 

fizz laying outside of temple newsam



8 comments:

  1. There's such a lot of detail on them, I can see you'd spot a different element each time you visited. Had an interesting conversation with my daughter when we visited the Guggenheim a couple of years ago as to what makes a piece of art. Her answer aged 8 was that if it makes you talk about it, it must be art. Fair point, I thought. BTW what breed of dog is Fizz?

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    1. I love your daughters definition! Fizz was a stray so we have no history about her I'm afraid. Not even her age. Everything is all a bit of a guess but she is something along the lines of a mastiff / rotti / boxer / GSD. A big Scooby Do looking daft dog basically!

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  2. I love tapestry work. Was fortunate to see some of the Great Scottish Tapestry being stitched at Stirling Castle some years ago, though gave yet to visit it now that it is complete. Sounds like an interesting and fun day out X

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    1. Its interesting as Grayson Perry didn't actually make a stitch on these!

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  3. Oh, how interesting! He's quite a character X

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  4. Lucky you! I'd really enjoy seeing these but Leeds is a long way from North Wales.

    That said it's his pots I really love. And having heard him speak ... I think best of all I like his way of thinking.

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    1. I've not seen any of his pots. Did you hear his Reith Lectures last year! They were really interesting. I loved how he dismissed the traditional conventions of the art world and the canon.

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