Grayson Perry – Julie Cope's Grand Tour
- Arabella Bradley
- 5 August 2019
This article is from 2019
Impressive tapestries tell a story in the artist's trademark gaudy palette
There is an ecclesiastical aura to this exhibition: from the display of the poem 'Ballad of Julie Cope' on lectern-style stands, to Perry's recital of it echoing around the space, and of course the large-scale tapestries that are the focus of the show. It's an unexpected tone for such an unconventional artist to strike, but intriguingly so. All becomes clear upon learning of Perry's architectural project A House for Essex, which also features briefly through photographs and objects; the building was intended to function as a 'secular chapel' and it's here where the tapestries were originally housed.
For Dovecot Studios' lower, less chapel-like ceiling, they are presented on tilted plinths in order to fit in the space and, as a result, viewing is slightly obscured. But the sheer scale of the tapestries is impressive nonetheless and in deliberate contrast to their subject matter, which depicts the life of Julie Cope, a fictional everyday woman, using Perry's signature gaudy palette and busy compositions.
Dovecot is an apt venue for them as it is a working tapestry studio, and the exhibition provides an informative approach to the process involved in making the works.
Dovecot Studios, until 2 Nov, £9 (£8).