Grayson Perry’s Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman returns to his “religious residence” within the British Museum | London night commonplace

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A previously unknown version of Grayson Perry’s Tomb Of The Unknown Craftsman was unveiled at the British Museum nine years after the sister piece was on display.

The Turner Prize winner created four versions of the work in 2011, only one of which was shown in the exhibition. He completed this unfinished piece days before the unveiling.

A memorial to history’s anonymous artisans, the tomb is shaped like a ship going to the afterlife and carrying replicas of objects from the British Museum’s collection.

It was placed next to the 2,400 year old Nereid Monument, a grave dating from around 380 BC. It was built for Erbinna, a ruler of Lycia, today’s Turkey, in order to establish a dialogue between the two objects.

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Perry said the reveal signaled the work’s return to its “spiritual home”.

He said: “The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman was the centerpiece of my exhibition of the same name in 2011 at the British Museum. That show was one of the proudest accomplishments of my career, also one of the most fun and educational projects I’ve embarked on.

“I am pleased that the grave will be exhibited again on the occasion of the reopening of the museum after the closure in its spiritual home. The tomb is a memorial to all of history’s anonymous artisans. I meant it was the shrine in the epicenter of a place of pilgrimage, the museum.

“It holds in its center the tool from which all tools emerged, a flint hand ax. The ship is a symbol of trade and cultural exchange, loaded with images from all over the world that are kept in the museum. The blood, sweat and tears of the craftsmen and pilgrims hang past its masts. It is a ship of death. “


British Museum prepares to reopen – in pictures

The British Museum is preparing to reopen to the public on August 27 after the coronavirus lockdown

PA

The British Museum is preparing to reopen to the public on August 27 after the coronavirus lockdown

PA

The British Museum is preparing to reopen to the public on August 27 after the coronavirus lockdown

PA

The British Museum is preparing to reopen to the public on August 27 after the coronavirus lockdown

PA

The British Museum is preparing to reopen to the public on August 27 after the coronavirus lockdown

PA

The British Museum is preparing to reopen to the public on August 27 after the coronavirus lockdown

PA

The British Museum is preparing to reopen to the public on August 27 after the coronavirus lockdown

PA

The British Museum is preparing to reopen to the public on August 27 after the coronavirus lockdown

PA

The British Museum is preparing to reopen to the public on August 27 after the coronavirus lockdown

PA

The British Museum is preparing to reopen to the public on August 27 after the coronavirus lockdown

PA

Perry, who is the museum’s trustee, also recalled the impact his collection of art and artifacts had had on him.

He said, “From a Super 8 film I shot at Art School in 1982, to a 1998 bronze Tang Dynasty racing car and 2011 Rosetta vase, to a grave model of my house that I made for our lockdown channel 4 show Grayson did art club.

“The museum has been a constant friend since my first visit in the mid-1960s and I’m happy to still be associated with it.”

Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum, said: “It is wonderful to have Grayson’s remarkable works of art back in the museum, where they were first seen almost a decade ago.

“Then, as now, this piece is a reminder that many of the most remarkable works of human creativity in the British Museum’s collection were created by people whose names have been lost. This will be an opportunity to celebrate them and the amazing items they left behind.

“After this difficult year, your legacy enables us to see the ability of humanity to endure and create even in difficult times.”

The museum will be closed for 163 days until it receives visitors again – the longest peace signing in its 261-year history. Visits must be booked in advance and a one-way street will be set up around some galleries.

With additional reporting from the press association