Subversive, satirical and fiendishly clever, David Shrigley’s deadpan humour has earned him an enthusiastic following of collectors around the world. The online exhibition gathers more than 20 highly sought-after prints by the British visual artist that showcase the joy he finds in the bizarre and his playful way with words.
Drawing on the British tradition of satire, his intuitive and candid works probe our human frailties and morals while making us laugh at the absurdity of life. ‘Wine, 2021’, for example, laments the over-policing of the things we derive most pleasure from, while ‘I Hate Human Beings, 2021’ – among his best-known series of works – explores the relationship between humans and animals, and how we as humans are ultimately the problem.
In 2013, Shrigley’s mid-career retrospective at the Hayward Gallery in London earned him a nomination for the prestigious Turner Prize – the UK’s most prestigious Contemporary art award. Three years later, he was selected to create a work of art for the Fourth Plinth on Trafalgar Square in London that resulted in the monumental Really Good sculpture. A 7-metre-high thumbs-up in bronze with a huge, extended thumb to emphasise the “really”, it got the art world talking. Did it encapsulate the optimistic spirit of London or was it in fact a sarcastic reference to Brexit Britain?
The beauty of Shrigley’s art is that it is entirely open to interpretation. “My line is that it means whatever you want it to mean, but it doesn’t mean ‘that’,” the artist says of his creations. With works in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, the Tate, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Foundation and the Arts Council Collection, Shrigley has a gift for tapping into our deepest, universally held feelings, making him a true artist of the people.