Grayson Perry’s Art Club – ‘Home’

By Bernie Bell

 In the fifth episode of Grayson Perry’s Art Club  Grayson begins by stating his admiration for Rachel Whiteread’s creation of a concrete block, made by pouring concrete into the interior of a house.

As I understood him – he sees this as being representative of what’s inside a house – the inside of a house, being what a house, or home, holds within it.

Much as I like and admire Grayson, I contest this.  From when I first saw this….creation/structure, presented as a sculpture, as a piece of art, I thought it was bogus.

It’s a block of concrete.

It’s one of those things that could lead to my being called a Philistine – I don’t see the value of this kind of ….thing.  And they are valued – have great value.  Folk are given vast amounts of money for producing these…objects.

Taking Grayson up on what he said – seriously – I think it would be as valid, more valid, to write on a piece of paper….

“Think about the inside of a house. Think about all that that holds.  Think about it.”

….and leave the person to use their imagination, and personal experience, to do so.

Imagine, picture, the inside of Home, and what it holds.  Then, really participate in what that brings to your mind, and your feelings.

Feel your way, in that space.

The next example of an art-work representing Home, was a drawing of a caravan – a caravan with jolly bunting strung around it – produced by a young woman who is in the army. Her husband is also in the army, and they, and their two children, move around – wherever their postings take them.  I think they have had something like 5 homes, in 7 years.  So, the caravan is….Home.  It’s their one constant as a place to be, to live.  Wherever they are, and however much their surroundings change – the caravan is a constant.  It’s a Home.

They go out in it for days out, and for longer holidays.  Home, on wheels.  A constant in a changing world.  Home.

Each week, Grayson introduces various famous guests, Noel Fielding being a regular.  Noel mentioned that, to a stand-up comedian, the stage is where they feel most at home – when the gig is going well!

During lock-down, Noel can’t travel to perform, so he made a little theatre in his garden shed, and gave a performance to his ‘audience’.  He painted this audience himself, and the result was simple, but strong.

Each member of the audience was represented by an oval shape, on which Noel painted a face.  Smiley, grouchy, a bit screamy, a bit worrying, a bit worried.  Human life, in the shape of a fairly representative audience, was there.

Not much to do with the theme of Home, but a very good, kind-of impressionist presentation of an audience  – part of what makes the theatre ‘Home’ to a performer.

And what would I present to Grayson, to represent Home?  My very own Oobit , with his lock-down beard.

Lockdown Mike with big beard credit Bell

I love our house. I love what it holds, both physically, and in terms of warmth, welcome and homeliness.  I love our garden – that’s Home too, not only to us, but also to all the wee beasties who find a haven there.

But, the whole place is home, to us, because of US.  Because it’s where we are, where we live.  We’re very fortunate to be here, and to be here during lock-down – with our garden, our neighbours, and our homely house.  But, home is where we are.  Otherwise, it isn’t a home – it isn’t Home – it’s just a place.  However pleasant or appealing that place might be.

My image for Grayson, would therefore be….the  person I share  that Home with.  Simple as that.  The rest, is the icing on the cake.

I wonder has anyone done that?  Made a cake in the shape of Home?  That would speak to me, more strongly of Home, than a block of concrete does – cake guzzling Philistine that I am!

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