press release

It is with great pleasure that Galleri Nicolai Wallner presents a new exhibition with exciting new drawings and sculptures by David Shrigley.

In the drawings as well as in his other works one sees Shrigley's fascination of language and phonetics. Sound, pronunciation and writing all come together when one enters Shrigley's world. He embraces both the melancholic, pathetic and disillusioned aspects of life and focuses on the absurdity of them. Though Shrigley images the world in simple lines, he also shows its complexity and cynicism. His works are emphasized by a bleak humour that below the surface reveals thoughtful truths about the human condition.

These qualities are expressed expertly in the new animation Ones. A hand shakes a dice box rolling ones - as the situation keeps repeating itself, the person keeps getting more and more desperate and shakes the dice box more and more vigorously. With ones traditionally seen as the least attractive throw, the person seems to be pinned down in bad luck and absurdity.

The writhing forms of a big clay sculpture gives different associations to human internal organs or just a really long sausage. The monumental look of the sculpture is contrasted by its handmade fragility: dents and marks by fingers and transient character of unburned clay that means it will break and change character as time goes by. It is a massive accumulation of artist material that fills the room.

In another part of the exhibition one finds 30 oversized and stylised silver coins displayed in a cabinet. Obviously a reference to the money Judas Iscariot was given to betray Jesus, their odd size and lack of stamp somehow distorts the one to one reading and changes it to something else.

The same room contains a large iron chain arranged in the form of a circle. Also rich in possible interpretations, the sculpture seems to suggest something eternal or functions as a metaphor of togetherness. Like the coins the individual links are large and odd sized. It looks like Shrigley plays with us - the form of both coins and chain suggesting that we have enlarged their meaning to the point where it becomes absurd. Perhaps the chain is just what was left after a giant man, woman, or animal broke free from captivity?

The works in the exhibition all seem to express a general mistrust to the fluency of images and forms. They address the plausible in our attempt to give meaning to the objects that surrounds us - objects that perhaps at their base are meaningless. Instead of viewing meaning, as a specific content that is to be deducted through language, they urge us to see it as something that makes a difference. Rather than being riddles ready to be solved, the works tell a story of the joy of making things and setting a mark in the world.

Through recent years David Shrigley has shown extensively at galleries and museums in Europe and America including solo shows at Malmö Konsthall (Malmö), UCLA Hammer museum (Los Angeles), Museum Ludwig (Cologne), and Kunsthaus Zürich (Zurich). Earlier in 2009 he had a solo exhibition at Bergen Kunsthall (Bergen).

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David Shrigley