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“Art is the greatest asset to mental health I have”: Grayson Perry explores resilience in new show

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Published by Paragon. Courtesy the artist, Paragon | Contemporary Editions Ltd and Victoria Miro, London © Grayson Perry. Photography: Prudence Cuming Associates

Beckenham-based Bethlem Gallery is set to celebrate its 20th anniversary with It’s how well you bounce, a group show which will include an etching by former Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry, who is one of the gallery’s patrons.

It’s how well you bounce includes paintings, drawings, spoken word, video, performance, printmaking and sculptures from 15 artists whose work the gallery has exhibited in the last 20 years. The show “explores the concept of resilience and its relationship to the imagination and artistic practice. Our capacity to cope with adversity and in some cases, be strengthened by it, is an astounding feature of the human condition. Yet society’s expectations that we should bounce back, put up a fight and recover, could be counter-productive in how we deal with adversity.”

Among the artists exhibiting are John McGill, Esther Maxwell-Orumbie, Maureen Scott and Grayson Perry, whose etching Map of an Englishman (2004) uses 16th and 17th Century cartography techniques to explore the artist’s own mind.

Beth Elliott, director of Bethlem Gallery comments: “The artists and their work have always been at the heart of what we do: it is their vision and talent that have engaged visitors from all over the world for 20 years. We hope to continue to make an equitable space for artists, leading change within arts, health and society.”

Artist Grayson Perry adds: “Bethlem Gallery’s 20th anniversary is a great milestone to be celebrating. Art is the greatest asset to mental health I have; it has this amazing ability to go under the radar and it goes down little pathways which are un-trodden and yet it’s still a very legitimate way of thinking and feeling and getting on with your life. I hope that Bethlem Gallery continues to provide such vital support to artists.”

It’s how well you bounce will run 2 September – 28 October 2017.

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Xavier White, Cohedia A Mind Expanding Cityscape, 2003-Ongoing © the artist, Courtesy Bethlem Gallery

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Esther Maxwell-Orumbie, Chameleon ability, 2017 © the artist, Courtesy Bethlem Gallery

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Maureen Scott, Unemployed, 1972 © the artist, Courtesy Bethlem Gallery