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Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman

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Article by Chloé Boucouvalas
Posted on November 16th, 2011
in Art & British Museum

The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman is a memorial to makers and builders, all those countless un-named skilled individuals who have made the beautiful man-made wonders of history. They are an artist in the service of their religion, their master, their tribe, their tradition.

Grayson Perry has conceived a major new exhibition for the British Museum. As the artist, curator and guide he will explore a range of themes connected with notions of craftsmanship and sacred journeys – from shamanism, magic and holy relics to motorbikes, identity and contemporary culture.

The collections of the British Museum consist of over eight million objects made by men and women from every age and corner of the globe. Upturning the familiar convention of a contemporary artist "responding to a museum’s collection", Perry has here developed an entirely new body of new work whilst undertaking a journey of his own through the vast British Museum collection to select over 190 objects that correlate to his own. The exhibition will also feature a number of existing works by the artist, many of which will be on public view for the first time.

"I have spent my entire career under the influence of the past, I wondered what I would learn from reversing the process. An object throughout its history will probably be subject to different readings. I invite you to view these artefacts by reading them through my lens. I am not a historian, an archaeologist or an ethnographer. I am an artist and this is principally an art exhibition. I have made my choices of objects from the BM collection because of their connections with each other and with my own work. Sometimes the connection is in their function sometimes in their subject and often in their form. One thing that connects all my choices is my delight in them". Grayson Perry, 2011

Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman
6 October 2011 – 19 February 2012
Supported by AlixPartners with Louis Vuitton

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British Museum