One of the highlights this year’s Royal Academy Summer Show 2015 is Grayson Perry’s Julie and Rob tapestry, a large work which is conceptually linked to the artist’s cross between Hansel and Gretel and a Russian Orthodox church, in the form of his house for Essex. The rentable holiday home is also an eccentric dedication to an individual by the name of Julie Cope.
The works give expression to her fictional life through both art and the architecture of the Perry’s Essex construction – an archetypal symbol of the feminine core of Essex – as is the tapestry on display at the RA. The work in this year’s summer show is apparently bemusing to some – but it is also a reflection of the artist’s current cultural value. In fact Perry is in danger of becoming a British institution. This is perhaps signified by a widely-shared fascination for Perry; even among the celebrity entrants at this year’s RA Summer Show is the rather amusing work by Una Stubbs with her watercolour, Grayson and Measles, which depicts Grayson Perry and his teddy bear, Measles.
Artlyst travelled to Wrabness in Essex to meet Grayson Perry at the site of ‘A House for Essex’. The house is at once an architectural form and a particularly personal artwork for Perry, creating a chapel, a place of worship that celebrates the ordinary, the everyday life of an Essex girl, woman, and mother as Perry takes the viewer on a journey through her life – and her death at the hands of a pizza delivery moped.
Perry has also created a new landmark for the village, close to the Essex coast. The work began with the creation of a rather touching poem detailing the life of a very ordinary and at the same time, this very special individual. After giving a tour of the stunning interior including other tapestries depicting Julie and Rob, Grayson Perry was kind enough to talk to Artlyst about the creation of A House For Essex, the identity of Julie Cope, and British art education.
Interview: Paul Black. Photos: © P A Black, 2015 Artlyst all rights reserved