David Shrigley at National Gallery of Victoria - October 2014

by Abi Crompton


In the summer of 2014 – 15, NGV presents David Shrigley, a comprehensive exhibition – his first in Australia – of new and recent work by the internationally renowned Glasgow-based artist. Shrigley is perhaps best known for his stripped back, darkly humourous and deliberately crude drawings that explore existential dramas, human dysfunction and anxiety.

The exhibition David Shrigley will encompass drawings, paintings, sculpture, animated videos, artist books, and a major new commission for NGV International’s Federation Court. The artist’s omnipresent sense of humour lies at the heart of these works, which are manifest in one liners and tragicomic narratives that reflect on the banality and absurdity of everyday life and objects.

The writer Will Self has recently referred to the ‘bewilderingly complex naiveté’ of Shrigley’s work, which is marked by simplicity and restraint, as a means for the artist ‘to communicate as simply and directly as possible’. Generated intuitively in the artist’s studio, Shrigley completes tens or even hundreds of drawings in one sitting, three quarters of which he ends up destroying in a deliberate process of consideration that belies the seeming spontaneity of the work.