Accompanying Grayson Perry's new Channel 4 series, a show of sitters at the National Portrait Gallery includes jailed politicians, loyalist marchers and X-Factor stars
Grayson Perry will portray the moment when former politician Chris Huhne was released from prison, the travails of former X-Factor and Celebrity Big Brother contestant Rylan Clark and the stories of a young transsexual and Northern Ireland loyalist marchers in a new exhibition, Who are You?, within the National Portrait Gallery’s 19th and 20th century displays this autumn.
© Jochen Braun / Penguin Books
Resulting from the artist’s latest Channel 4 series, the 14 portraits will include a self-portrait, a major new tapestry and the lives of deaf parents, a Muslim convert and a couple living with Alzheimer’s disease. Perry’s aim was to distil his impressions of a life-defining experience for each of his subjects.
“I have always been interested in the things we tend not to think about or take for granted, like our sense of aesthetic taste,” said the artist, whose previous three-part series for the channel, All in the Best Possible Taste, received widespread praise and a BAFTA Award.
“In this show I investigate our slippery sense of who we feel we are.
“Identity seems to be something that is only an issue when it is threatened or problematic in some way. I have chosen as my subjects individuals, families or groups who are in situations that highlight certain aspects of being human.
“I am hoping that they will throw some light on experiences that we all share.
“With the artworks I have made I have attempted to portray the identity narrative of the subjects – the ongoing process of ‘being ourselves’.”
Perry visited Huhne, the former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change who was jailed for 63 days for perverting the course of justice over a speeding case, on the day he was released from prison.
Three 60-minute films will be broadcast at the opening, when each subject will be unveiled in miniature, tapestry, statue or pot form.
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