Artlyst travelled to Wrabness in Essex to meet Grayson Perry at the site of his latest project, ‘A House for Essex’. At once an architectural form and a particularly personal artwork for Perry, which has also created a new landmark for the village, close to the Essex coast. The building is a collaboration between FAT Architecture and the artist, yet the work began with the creation of a rather touching poem detailing the life of a very ordinary and at the same time, very special individual.
Perry then unveiled the work and its interior to London’s art journalists to reveal the real reason for the existence of the work. The house and its contents concerns the story of a ‘real Essex woman’ through an elaborate narrative existing via works of art inside the house, and totems and tile designs on the exterior of what is in fact, the artist’s ‘pilgrimage chapel’.
This is a cross between Hansel and Gretel and a Russian Orthodox church, an eccentric dedication to a saint – in this case a secular one by the name of Julie Cope – the collective works give expression to her fictional life through both art and architecture. But this character, an archetypal symbol of the feminine core of Essex is perhaps a cypher, and an expression of something very personal to Grayson Perry himself.
Grayson was kind enough to give Artlyst a tour of the interior of his ‘House’ which might well be the most complicated and intimate work of art that the artist has accomplished during his career thus far.
Audio: Grayson Perry and Charles Holland of architects FAT with Paul Black. Photos: P A Black © Artlyst 2015 all rights reserved