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David Shrigley

 

David Shrigley (b 1968, in Macclesfield, England) is best known for his black and white, text-based, deceptively amateurish pen and ink drawings, however Shrigley has also produced a vast number of sculptures, monotypes, photographs, inkjet prints, animated films, paintings and last but not least, books. In 1991, Shrigley made his first book “Slug Trails”, and many since, characterized by his humorous, dark satirical drawings and writing. Through the books and his weekly drawings in The Guardian (since September 2005), the animation series “Modern thought” by David Shrigley for BBC, the music videos Blur’s “Good Song” (2003) and Bonnie Prince Billy’s “Agnes, queen of sorrow” (2004) Shrigley has developed different audiences and has managed to bridge the gap between popular culture and fine art.

The last couple of years Shrigley has developed animated films such as “Who I Am And What I Want” (2006), “New Friends” (2006), “Laundry” (2006), “The Lightswitch” (2007) amoung others, and most recently Shrigley has got himself involved in music. Shrigley made his own record “Shrigley Forced To Speak With Others” (2006), but before that the record label Tomlab had asked him to produce an artists book. In 2005 “Worried Noodles (The Empty Sleeve)” was originally published as a cover for a vinyl record with the lyrics insert “Skull for sale (Songbook)”, containing 30 (or so) songs, but the sleeve contained no record. The empty records leave/book with Shrigley “fictive” song texts was published, but the project developed and in 2007 a double CD with 39 different musicians and bands – like David Byrne, Franz Ferdinand, Grizzly bear, Hot Chip, Scout Niblett among others – playing/singing Shrigley’s lyrics.

On the backcover of the book “Grip” (2000) David Shrigley gives the Following instruction: “RULES: They say that rules are made to be broken but this is just a figure of speech. Rules are made to be kept. Rules are there to guide us. As modern world grows ever more complicated and appears to now be populated mostly by nutters rules have become increasingly important. Those who break the rules will be beaten with a rod of iron and then made to write out the rules one million times. Bending the rules is also forbidden.

Bent rules are useless.” What may seem normal to begin with often takes a drastic and grotesque turn in Shrigley’s universe. There are always consequences to one’s actions and below the surface thoughtful truths about the human condition and human soul are revealed.

David Shrigley studied Fine Art at Glasgow School of Art from 1988 to 1991, and has exhibited widely in Europe and North America including solo shows at Malmö Konsthall (Malmö, 2007), Centro de Arte Caja de Burgos (Burgos, 2007), DCA (Dundee, 2006), Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain (Geneva), UCLA Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), and Kunsthaus Zürich. His illustrations have appeared in newspapers and magazines such as Esquire (Japan), Donna (Italy), Frieze (UK), The Guardian (UK), Maisonneuve (Canada), Du (Switzerland).

David Shrigley lives and works in Glasgow.

Jacob Fabricius

 


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David Shrigley

Who I am and what I want, 2005

Video | DVD | animation
7’23”

 

 

 

 

 

Throughout Shrigley¹s many different ways of working the viewer will find an absurd logic to life. Shrigley comments on the world with a nihilistic wit, word games and interrogations leaving us question ourselves and what is around us.

In many works, there are lists with rules and regulations, “do’s and don’ts” and lists of rights and wrongs. God and Satan walks hand in hand and the turn of the screw is the absence of belief, which leads to doubt and even more questions. There are lists of questions, confessions and suggestions, and the individual – human, animal or non-descript organism – have to select and decide on what ethics and morality to follow (and the bleak consequences if they are broken).

“Who am I and what I want” is no exception to Shrigley’s nihilistic wit.

In the animation we follow the human-like creature Peter and his absurd life in the woods. In the animation, creatures are born, reborn and killed (in a variety of cynical ways) by creature and other oversized animals.

In “Who am I and what I want” Peter talks about the brutal life in the Woods as if his everyday life was the most normal life in the worlds. It isn’t!

 

Jacob Fabricius


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David Shrigley

 Untitled (Today I will paint – “Ugly little man in an ugly mood”), 1998 

Drawing | Marker pen on paper
24 x 21.5 cm

DS.0003

 

 

The drawings “Untitled (Today I will paint – “Ugly little man in an ugly mood”)” and “Untitled (Mick’s costume)” are from 1998, and both from the series of drawings David Shrigley did around the book “To make meringue you must beat the egg whites until they look like this”; produced by Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen.

The black and white, text-based, pen and ink drawings are typical of David Shrigley’s work. They present a dark humour and disillusioned anxiety. An anxiety that may make you laugh, but possibly also haunt you with questions of what is good and what is bad. The drawings are not done to guide you out of evil thought, they do not raise your spirit or hopes, nor do they present a better or more positive view of the world, instead they may make the viewer and reader think about our condition as human beings.

 

Jacob Fabricius 


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David Shrigley

Untitled (Mick’s costume), 1998

Drawing | Marker pen on paper
24 x 21 cm
 DS.0002

The drawings “Untitled (Today I will paint – “Ugly little man in an ugly mood”)” and “Untitled (Mick’s costume)” are from 1998, and both from the series of drawings David Shrigley did around the book “To make meringue you must beat the egg whites until they look like this”; produced by Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen.

The black and white, text-based, pen and ink drawings are typical of David Shrigley’s work. They present a dark humour and disillusioned anxiety. An anxiety that may make you laugh, but possibly also haunt you with questions of what is good and what is bad. The drawings are not done to guide you out of evil thought, they do not raise your spirit or hopes, nor do they present a better or more positive view of the world, instead they may make the viewer and reader think about our condition as human beings.

Jacob Fabricius


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David Shrigley

Untitled (Keep your hair on), 2005

Installation | Acrylic and spray paint on wood

Dimensions variable | From 20 x 20 cm to 61 x 63 cm (x19)

DS.0001-
The work “Untitled (keep your hair on…)”, 2005 consists of a row of 19 paintings (acrylics on wood panels) placed on a narrow corner shelf.

The paintings have individual sizes and shapes and may seem like individual works, but the play between the words and abstract images create the multifaceted and absurd world of Shrigley.

Within the work we find the two text paintings, “Worried” and “Noodles”, which later became the cover of the publication “Worried Noodles (The Empty Sleeve)” and the double CD “Worried Noodles”. This is a good example of how Shrigley use, reuses and combines text and images in new ways and medias, and shows how his works – shown in galleries and museum – spills into popular culture and mass media.

Jacob Fabricius


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