David Shrigley is best known for his distinctive drawing style and works that make satirical comments on everyday situations and human interactions. His quick-witted drawings and hand-rendered texts are typically deadpan in their humour and reveal chance utterings like snippets of over-heard conversations. Reoccurring themes and thoughts pervade his story telling capturing child-like views of the world, the perspective of aliens and monsters or the compulsive habits of an eavesdropper shouting out loud. While drawing is at the centre of his practice, the artist also works across an extensive range of media including sculpture, large-scale installation, animation, painting, photography and music. Shrigley consistently seeks to widen his public by operating frequently outside the gallery sphere such as in prolific artist publications and collaborative music projects.
His digital animations such as ‘Headless Drummer' and ‘The Artist' demonstrate what Shrigley calls ‘the economy of telling stories', delivering a deftly crafted mix of dark and light through the simplest of forms. In his sculptural works that explore materials such as bronze and ceramic, the artist makes physical some of his more curious and eccentric propositions by transforming found objects or by playing with their scale. Taking Lewis Carroll's perspective of Wonderland, Shrigley enlarges objects and imbues them with curious proportions.
In 2019 Shrigley was awarded the decoration of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire or OBE. Shrigley was a Turner Prize nominee in 2013, following his major mid-career retrospective at the Hayward Gallery, London titled ‘Brain Activity'. In September 2016, his monumental sculpture ‘Really Good' was unveiled in Trafalgar Square for the Fourth Plinth Commission. From 2015 to 2018 the British Council-organised exhibition 'Lose Your Mind' travelled six venues including Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China; Storage by Hyundai Card in Seoul, Korea and Instituto-Cultural-Cabañas in Guadalajara, Mexico. The artist also currently has an on-going presentation in the Gallery at Sketch, London as part of a long-term programme of artist-conceived restaurants.
Selected solo exhibitions include: ‘Kindness: Prints & Drawings by David Shrigley', Newstead Abbey Historic House & Gardens, Nottinghamshire, UK (2019); ‘Do it (do not do it)', Museo de arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City, Mexico (2019); ‘David Shrigley: To Be of Use', Art Omi, Ghent, New York, USA (2019); ‘Exhibition of Inflatable Swan Things and Other Things', Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen, Denmark (2019); ‘Fluff War', Anton Kern Gallery, New York, USA (2019); ‘Exhibition of Inflatable Swan Things', Spritmuseum, Stockholm, Sweden (2018-2019); ‘David Shrigley', Two Rooms, Auckland, New Zealand (2019); ‘David Shrigley', Sketch, London, UK (2018-2019); ‘Laughterhouse', Deste Foundation Project Space, Greece (2018); ‘Life Model II', Fabrica, Brighton, UK (2018); ‘Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Massachusetts, USA (2016); ‘David Shrigley', Two Rooms Gallery, Auckland Arts Festival, Auckland, New Zealand (2015); ‘David Shrigley: Life and Life Drawing', National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2014-2015); ‘David Shrigley', Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany (2014); ‘Brain Activity', Hayward Gallery, London, UK touring to Yerba Beuna Centre for the Arts, San Francisco, USA (2013); ‘How Are You Feeling?', Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK (2012-2013); ‘Arms Fayre', Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, UK (2012); ‘Drawings', Mumbai Art Rooms, Mumbai, India (2012); ‘Animate', Turku Art Museum, Finland (2011) and ‘David Shrigley', Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen, Norway (2009).
Selected group exhibitions include ‘Drawn World: Drawings from Menzel to Warhol', Galerie Ludorff, Düsseldorf, Germany (2019-2020); ‘Playmode', MAAT, Lisbon, Portugal (2019-2020); ‘There'll Never be a Door You're Inside: Works from the Coleção Teixeira de Freitas', Santander Art Gallery, Madrid, Spain (2019); ‘Dog Show', CGP London: The Gallery & Dilston Grove, London, UK (2019); ‘The Lie of the Land', MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, UK (2019); ‘The Stage is Yours', Museum of Contemporary Art KIASMA/The Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki, Finland (2019); ‘Summer Exhibition', Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK (2018); ‘BRIT ART', Lawrence Alkin Gallery, London, UK (2018); ‘Sweats & Tears', Saasfee Pavilion, Berlin, Germany (2018); ‘And I Will Take You To Paradise', Kunstmuseet Kube, Ålesund, Norway (2018); ‘Partizipation Als Künstlerisches Prinzip', Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, Germany (2017); ‘Folkestone Triennial', Folkestone, UK (2017); ‘You Are Not Alone', Athr Gallery, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (2017); ‘JUMP', Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen, Denmark (2017); ‘News/Prints', International Print Centre, New York, USA (2017); ‘Donde Esta La Playa? The Summer Show', Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen, Denmark (2017); ‘Toulouse International Art Festival', Toulouse, France (2016); ‘Takashi Murakami's Superflat Collection', Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan (2016); ‘Seeing Round Corners', Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK (2016); ‘Drawing Now: 2015', The Albertina, Vienna, Austria (2015); ‘Eyes on the Prize', The Travelling Gallery in association with Tramway, Glasgow, UK (2015); ‘Private Utopia: Contemporary Art from the British Council Collection, Tokyo Station Gallery, Japan; touring to Itami City Museum of Art & The Museum of Arts & Crafts, Itami, Japan; Museum of Art, Kochi, Japan and Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art, Japan (2014-15).
Shrigley's works are included in prominent collections internationally, including Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA; Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, USA; Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany; Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark; Thyssen-Bornemisza Contemporary Art Foundation, Vienna, Austria; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, UK; Tate, London, UK; and The British Council, London, UK; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.