David Shrigley’s fifth solo exhibition at Galerie Francesca Pia continues a longstanding collaboration stretching back to both the early days of the gallery and the beginning of Shrigley’s artistic career.
Shrigley’s oeuvre includes classical artistic media such as drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, video, and installation, among others, as well as the publication of numerous books, cartoons for newspapers, his own merchandising products, and the design of record covers. Thus, the exhibition’s title Proposals for Record Covers can also be understood as a reference to his own navigation between the art world— in the narrower sense—and a more commercial context, whereby one does not exclude the other. Instead, these different spheres enrich each other. At the same time, the title can also be understood as an absurd task that does not seek fulfilment.
Formally, the fifty new paintings on display—all acrylic on paper—in fact resemble oversized record covers. They are square, and the subjects are usually depicted frontally and centered; they take up a large part of the surface and are compelling in their reserved colourfulness, which strongly stand out against the background, which is always white. In terms of content, the works are based on the humorous image-text combinations for which Shrigley has become known, particularly in the context of his drawings. These range from obvious tautologies, as in Untitled (Centre Parting) and his surprising health tips as in Untitled (Cigarettes Are Good for You, in a Way) or negotiate strange fears as in Untitled (Red Guitar, Do Not Be Afraid of It), to mention only a few examples.
In these paintings, Shrigley manages to reduce his ideas to the absolute minimum in order to communicate as simply and directly as possible. In combination with his dry, often biting humour, Shrigley’s works address banalities and shortcomings of everyday life, society and the state of the world, in order to demonstrate just how valuable humour is as a means of healthy detachment, especially in times like ours.
Some personal highlights from the show
David Shrigley was born in Macclesfield, England in 1968. He now lives in Brighton (UK) and works in Sidmouth (UK). Solo museum exhibitions include Copenhagen Contemporary (2020); Newstead Abbey Historic House & Gardens, Nottinghamshire (2019); Museo de arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City (2019); Art Omi, New York (2019); Spritmuseum, Stockholm (2018); Deste Foundation Project Space (2018); Fabrica, Brighton (2018); Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University (2016); National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2014); and Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2014). In 2013, Shrigley was nominated for the Turner Prize and had an extensive retrospective at the Hayward Gallery, London that same year.
Shrigley’s work is found in major international collections, including the Museum of Modern Art; Art Institute of Chicago; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen; Thyssen-Bornemisza Contemporary Art Foundation, Vienna; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Scotland; and the Tate Gallery, London.
December 3, 2022 – January 28, 2023
Opening Friday, December 2, 5–8 pm
Galerie Francesca Pia
Limmatstrasse 268, 8005 Zürich