David Shrigley uses humour and brutal
honesty as artistic means. His drawings, paintings and animated films are often
based on an interaction between the image and the text, while his sculptures,
sound installations and interventions in public spaces combine striking visual
force with subtle jokes. He finds food for his biting satire in clichés and
conversations between people in daily life, but also in the art world. Inflatable Swan Thing and The Artist are two performative
installations by Shrigley that question the concept of art and the traditional
understanding of authorship.
There are probably not many artists
whose works are on display in museums, galleries and art fairs, but also sold
in the fashion and lifestyle sector. The Inflatable
Swan Thing has its origins in an idea that was born out of necessity: when
David Shrigley was faced with the problem of a sculpture that was too large to
transport to Japan, without a moment’s hesitation he produced an inflatable
version – problem solved! This work was followed by a series of smaller,
affordable swans for swimming pools. Shrigley does not see his art as being
restricted to a particular medium. This applies as much to the development of
his ideas as it does to their implementation in form and materials. The
installation The Artist produces
drawings continuously, but they are not created by the artist’s hand. Instead,
a small robot (a vacuum cleaner wearing a wig) guides the pens that it holds in
its nostrils. Shrigley, whose work largely begins with drawing, clearly reveals
one thing with this installation: the execution is not the actual moment of
artistic creation. The artistic act always lies in the idea, whatever technique
or medium is used.
comes to the distribution of his works, Shrigley is also more open than is common
in the art market. His works are not only on sale in renowned galleries and at
international art fairs; they can also be mass-produced items available for
purchase in his online shop and from other vendors. This form of boundary
crossing and consciously playing with the conventions of particular
environments – and especially the customs of the art world – are themes to
which Shrigley constantly returns. Humour always plays an important role in his
work, but the questioning that he expresses with it raises issues of serious
concern for him. He not only questions the hierarchies that are used to
distinguish between “high” and “low” art, or between high culture and
subculture; he also playfully moves between these fields and between different
media. He takes aim both at his role as an artist and at the rules that the art
world keeps trying to impose on him.
David Shrigley studied at the Glasgow School of Art
in Scotland from 1988 to 1991.
He was a Turner Prize nominee in 2013.