My visit to the Victoria Miro Gallery did not get off to the best of starts. I began by taking a wrong turn down City Road out of Old St tube. Having walked to its end at no 1 the realization suddenly dawned that I was going to have to retrace my steps back to the station and start again. This time going in the opposite direction!
I eventually arrived at my destination a little footsore but with great anticipation. I was not disappointed. The gallery is set in a Victorian building with my destination, a large white cube extension on the roof. The daunting number of steps which have to be climbed to get to the roof extension should not put you off. It’s well worth the climb. On reaching the top there is a beautifully landscaped terrace to cross before arriving at the gallery extension itself which gives you a fantastic view over London’s East End.
The Vanity of Small Differences tapestries by Grayson Perry, which I had made the journey from Grimsby to see, are both powerful and perceptive and the scale is impressive. His use of colour is sublime. I loved the humour within pieces which explore taste and class. There are six of them in total displayed in this modestly sized gallery along with five of Grayson Perry’s ceramic pots as a bonus. As I perused the work I found myself wondering what it would actually cost to produce a 4 metre x 2 metre tapestry !
Based on Hogarth’s 18th-century narrative paintings Rakes Progress which tell the tale of Tom Rakewell, as he rises from working-class obscurity to greatness – and then falls again, the images are full of references to brands, to celebrity,and to religious paintings. Perry’s hero is Tim Rakewell , born to a working class family, he goes to University, and journeying up through the Middle classes he ends up as a multimillionaire who comes to a tragic end in a car crash.Looking at my watch I was amazed to find that an exhibition with only eleven pieces of work in it had kept my attention for over ninety minutes.Well worth a visit.
Grayson Perry’s new tapestries are at Victoria Miro Gallery, London N1 from 7 June to 11 August.
The accompanying TV series All in the Best Possible Taste can be seen on 4oD.