English National Ballet has announced that it has commissioned Grayson Perry to design the front cloth for its She Said programme, at Sadler's Wells from Wednesday 13 – Saturday 16 April 2016.
Perry – introduced on Wikipedia as “an English artist, known mainly for his ceramic vases and cross-dressing” – has ENB's Artistic Director as a fan of his work. Tamara Rojo said,
I have been an admirer of Grayson's work for many years now, and I'm thrilled he's creating a front cloth for English National Ballet. After seeing his exhibition, The Vanity of Small Differences at the British Museum, and his Channel 4 Series In the Best Possible Taste, and Who Are You? I thought he would be the perfect artist to create a response to our She Said programme.
The company's new triple bill is dedicated to female choreography and features three world premieres from choreographers Aszure Barton, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and Yabin Wang.
Grayson's wonderful insight into different forms of identity made me believe he would create a truly inspiring piece of art. I am really grateful to him for agreeing to do this, and I am very excited to show his wonderful front cloth to our audience.
Grayson Perry was allowed to let his imagination roam freely as the trilogy is still in the phase of being created.
I thought about actually writing out what ‘she' might have said but I am always one step away from being offensive so keeping it visual seemed safer.
I wanted the curtain to look like a giant drawing on paper perhaps by an outsider artist, definitely not slick anyway. The central character is having three ideas that could have something to do with the three ballets. She is in a landscape of phalluses. It is quite jolly and there is no rational explanation.
Perry won the 2003 Turner prize and was elected a Royal Academician in 2012. The following year, he received a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List and delivered the BBC's Reith Lectures. In 2015 was awarded the prestigious appointments of Trustee of the British Museum and Chancellor of the University of the Arts London. His book, Playing to the Gallery, is published by Penguin.
A record quarter of a million visitors came to see new works by Perry at the National Portrait Gallery last year, in a free display, in partnership with Channel 4. In total, 850,000 visitors to the National Portrait Gallery are thought to have seen at least one new work by the artist as part of a gallery-wide display and trail. The new portraits were created during the making of his Channel 4 series Grayson Perry: Who Are You?
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.