Last night I watched the Channel 4 programme by artist Grayson Perry ‘In the Best Possible Taste’ in which he researches the British class system for his recent artwork: 6 tapestries titled The Vanity of Small Differences. Grayson believes that taste is directly influenced by our class and has created the tapestries to show the differences (and similarities) between the working, middle and upper classes; “The tapestries tell a story of class mobility. I think nothing has such a strong influence on our aesthetic taste as the social class we grow up in.”
I don’t know what this says about us and our taste, but my hubby and I spotted quite a few of our favourite items in many of the homes in this programme. Although we personally favour particularly disgusting 70s design classics rather than some of the ‘middle-class’ cookie-cutter decor, we certainly identified with some of the homeowners featured – but did they know they were creating a kitsch interior or have they had their items for so long that they’ve come back into fashion?? And does our penchant for retro furniture make us middle-class then? I’m pretty sure that our interior decor (mostly sourced at car-boot sales) doesn’t reflect our class-level at all. In fact, I’m not sure it ties us into any group, other than maybe the ‘thrifty’ folk out there.
Grayson Perry said something that I particularly enjoyed in the latter part of the episode, (not quoting directly, I can’t remember exactly!) that everyone thinks they are individual, until they meet a load of other people who are just as individual as they are.
I’ve already missed the first episode on working-class taste, so I’ll be visiting 4OD to catch up with that episode and I’m already looking forward to the final programme of the series on the upper classes. The full exhibition of Turner prizewinning artist Grayson Perry’s tapestries is held at the Victoria Miro gallery between 7 June and 11 August 2012.