What an unexpected, and intriguing pleasure it was to meet with Grayson Perry the other night at the opening of the exhibition of works by the artist Kishio Suga. Suga-san is one of the leading artists of the Mono-ha School (The School of Things); a movement that swept the Japanese art worldfrom the end of the 1960s through the 1970s. The exhibition was held at the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation in Regents Park and was timed to complement the Frieze Art Fair.
Grayson is an admirer of Suga-san’s work and after the initail presentation we had time to chat. I have long wanted to talk to Grayson, not only about his work as an artist, but more irresistibly, about his passion for cross-dressing and the role he plays in the design and making of his striking garments. Luckily there was a photographer close by and we were able to capture the moment before he was whisked away.
We talked in particular about the Art of Savile Row and I mentioned its eponymous BBC TV programme when he was featured commissioning a suit from Richard James. I remember a fascinating bit of perceptions at play between the customer and his tailor which had to be worked through. A kind of ‘Victor/Victoria moment’ came to mind!.
The designer/maker issue came up and how rare it is for there to be a shared understanding of the actual making side. I told him a story about working with a certain feisty French designer who handed me a set of cartoons – over exaggerated, with proportinally distorted figures in ‘anti-gravity’ poses. To prove a point, our team of makers decided to build one of his Safari jackets to scale and the result was something of a hibrid, somewhere between Dan Leno and the corps de ballet.
Very pleasant indeed to have such an exchange over a glass of wine…By the way…he has sensational legs………..!
Photos: thanks to www.peopleplayuk.org.uk and www.commonwealthballet.org