British artist Grayson Perry refers to himself as a “communicator”, one who is aiming to “communicate to as wide an audience as possible”, which means, at this time, bridging the gap in Britain between a divided society. As such, the centrepiece of “The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!”, at the Serpentine Gallery, are the Brexit pots (provocatively titled “The Matching Pair”), which were created with the help of the British public who were invited, through social media, to contribute ideas, images and phrases. From across the room, these huge blue vases look remarkably similar; look closer and the images reveal not only two opposing view-points, but the artist’s own political sway. The Leave pot has Nigel Farage, Big Ben, Winston Churchill and ketchup, whilst the Remain pot is a collage of romance and literature, with a portrait of Shakespeare and kissing couples.
Elsewhere, Grayson pokes fun at fat cat art collectors with one liner quips scrawled across his ceramics, such as “flat whites against racism”, and “luxury brands for social justice”. The bronze sculptures are perhaps the most striking, delving deep into the modern psyche and issues of identity: “King of Nowhere” is a wide legged, cap-wearing drunk with scissors and knifes plunged into his skin, surrounded by miniature bottles of whisky. It’s an overwhelming and chaotic insight into Grayson’s mind, a whirlwind of contrasting words and images that confront the viewer from even the most mundane of objects. Amusing on the surface with ominously aggressive undertones, it seems to me, to be a fairly accurate reflection of the current state of British society.
“Grayson Perry: The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!” runs until 10th September 2017 at The Serpentine Gallery, London