In his sixth solo show at Anton Kern Gallery, British artist David Shrigley presents 78 drawings, two sculptures and one animation. The drawings, ink and acrylic on paper in two distinct sizes, depict a variety of situations involving humans, animals, parts of their bodies and other stuff. The sculptures are of two oversized objects, a subtractor (a calculator with limited function keys), and a working telephone that is hooked up to the gallery’s main phone line. The animation in the back gallery is a drawn and slightly altered version of the Sega arcade game, Out Run.
Like a great skeptical underground project, Shrigley’s conceptual, ideabased art is a never-ending stream of curious propositions and eccentric moral dilemmas. With acerbic humor and strangely profound insights, the artist lays bare the ambiguities, comedy and pathos of everyday life. According to the artist, most aspects of life have the potential to be “ridiculous, absurd, awkward, funny and meaningless all at once.”
Shrigley has consistently experimented with different media and formats, although drawing has been the mainstay of his practice. This exhibition focuses on the economy and eloquence of his unique, funny drawings on paper, with their pared-down, crude graphic forms and sputtering script. In all these works, the artist furthers his exploratory unraveling of the world around him with images and words that beckon the viewer to enjoy the liberating power of a good laugh.
With over 40 books to his name, David Shrigley is a well-published author and artist. Recent solo exhibitions have been held at the Two Rooms Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand (2015); the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany (both 2014); the Hayward Gallery, London; the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; and the Cornerhouse Gallery, Manchester (all 2012). Shrigley has participated in group shows such as Generation, 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland, Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland (2014); SUPER Visions - Drawing and Being, Museum Schloss Moyland, Bedburg-Hau, Germany; Sous influences, arts plastiques et psychotropes, La Maison Rouge, Paris, France; The System of Objects, DESTE Foundation, Centre for Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece (all 2013); Funny, Flag Art Foundation, New York; Zoo, Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal, Montreal (both 2012); A Sense of Humor, Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, WI; Life on Mars: 55th Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (2008); and Learn to Read, Tate Modern, London (2007). In 2013, Shrigley was nominated for the Turner Prize and that same year he received the Trafalgar Square Fourth Plinth commission, a large public-art project to be realized in 2016.