October 30, 2010
August 5, 2010—David Shrigley is a Glasgow-based English artist who uses humor like other artists use clay or paint. It is a material, sometimes a concept, that allows him to engage with a variety of mediums as long as it delivers the liberating punch of laughter. For his forth solo show at Anton Kern Gallery, Shrigley has put together a group of 30 drawings, ten pairs of large ceramic boots, paper letters made of metal, small ceramic and bronze sculptures, as well as a black-and-white animation entitled “The Letter.”
If humor provokes laughter and amusement, it also occasionally captures – with lightening speed – a truth that could otherwise only be expressed in a philosophical essay. Shrigley uses humor, not always the laugh-out-loud kind, as a subtle conceptual underpinning to his material process. This enables him and the viewer to feel a sense of liberation in discovering that the difference between truth and belief is the source of human knowledge and how we make sense of the world. Itʼs a truth that acknowledges the dark side of the human psyche and allows the viewer to peek into a disjointed world filled with eccentric moral dilemmas. As much as any serious shoe shopper would feel ambiguous about the consequences of clonking around in ceramic boots, the realization of expectations that come to nothing, or the recognition of unexpected shifts in perspective, or simply the collision of different frames of reference – all humor-techniques employed by Shrigley – can lend us a hand in navigating lifeʼs pitfalls and traps.