Fig. 1. Perry, Grayson. “Difficult Background” (2001) – two views
Fig. 2. My sketches – Top left sketch of a girl, top right sketch of a boy, below are some observations about the pot
The Brighton Museum and Gallery has a Grayson Perry pot, Difficult Background (2001), on permanent display.
I wish to discuss it for two reasons. Firstly, I like Grayson Perry’s work in general and this pot in particular. Secondly, I was struck with how the pot was described.
The pot is in its own cabinet and sits in a corner. It is, however, on a revolving plate which allows all aspects of the pot to be seen. On both of my recent visits to look at it, however, the revolving plate wasn’t working. This had the effect of hiding about one fifth of it.
The cabinet carries a description of the pot. It says:
“Difficult Background, 2001, appears to refer nostalgically to childhood, with figures of children playing, dressed in 1950s-style clothes. However, a closer look reveals scrawled images of terror and war: burning buildings, blasted trees, naked figures running screaming from others carrying rifles. A girl presents an apple to a boy over a fallen signpost labelled ‘lost innocence’. Perry thus makes a powerful statement about the atrocities of conflict.”
I would agree with all of that but I was surprised that the description did not pick up on another aspect of the work. I will, therefore, discuss the piece in a little more detail and then return to the above description and consider other interpretations.