Published  26/04/2018

David Shrigley: ‘The quality of the work for me is about avoiding contrivance’

David Shrigley: ‘The quality of the work for me is about avoiding contrivance’

David Shrigley talks about his large-scale installation Life Model II at Fabrica Gallery in Brighton, part of the Brighton Festival for which he is this year’s guest director

On the Brighton Festival’s website, Shrigley describes Life Model II as an artwork that begets other artwork … [with] a three-dimensional sculpture of the life model … trying to stand still. Shrigley tells us: “It’s a good thing to make a sculpture of something that is trying to stay still.” Perhaps he is suggesting that the idea of motion (or fidget) is important to have in mind when it comes to making art that isn’t moving.

David Shrigley, Life Model II, installation view at Fabrica, Brighton, 2018. Photograph: Martin Kennedy.

Shrigley is so well known for his interestingly scribbly surreal and subversive images and texts that getting past the cameras and journalists to interview him before the opening of his show was a complicated navigation – a lot of people want a bit of Shrigley, his wit, his sideways view, his easy presence. But there is a deception in his work – not one of any malice or duplicity, but one related to his self-deprecation and to the perception of people who have no understanding of the world of making writing and drawing.

David Shrigley, Life Model II (detail), installation view at Fabrica, Brighton, 2018. Photograph: Martin Kennedy.

Shrigley’s work looks easy to do, intuitive and fluid, a stream of consciousness (or so it seems), appearing as though effortless, as it splodges and splashes across pages and prints and books and walls. But the kind of drawing that appears to repeatedly and perpetually fly so free from the constraints of form, fashion and aesthetic conventions takes years of dedicated hard work, skill and a unique sort of brilliance to achieve.

David Shrigley, Life Model II, preview at Fabrica, Brighton, 2018. Photograph: Summer Dean.

Shrigley is like a really fit ballet dancer pirouetting his ink across white space and leaving gloriously subversive traces of skew-eyed thinking in his wake. Perhaps Shrigley’s unusual physicality (he is 6ft 5 inches tall), has contributed to his unique view of the world. He is also unusually generous for an artist: generous with his time, his ideas and his work. And his work is much more diverse than might at first be expected – there are books, sculpture, installation, collaboration, and a musical event scheduled in the Brighton Festival for which he has designed all the instruments.

David Shrigley at the opening of Life Model II, Fabrica, Brighton, 13 April 2018. Photograph: Martin Kennedy.

David Shrigley: Life Model II
Fabrica, Brighton
14 April – 28 May 2018

Interview by MK PALOMAR

Click on the pictures below to enlarge

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