I specially like reading books about society and culture like John Berger’s work. But I do know a healthy reading routine is about variety. So all the short stories and poems are some delightful snacks and desserts. I am not going to talk about reading habits ro how I enjoy sweet things. I am talking about David Shrigley. His work are poetry to me.
If I’d make some categories, David Shrigley is probably linked to Wood & Harrison and Gavin Turk —these kind of humours witty British artists. So lately I have been roaming the exhibition of some emerging British artists. The Brain Activity of David Shrigley evoked a lot of soft chuckles . You’ll know when you get there.
He is a storyteller. very narrative .with all these bizarre and odd objects.
It’s racking to think why a headless, nutless poor squirrel is there to be displayed.
this taxidermy may seems simple and light to look at. It’s humorous. I can just laught at it and walk away. But it is so succinct and awkard that it will remain in my mind till one day I will feel like this. That is like those poetry which seem easy to read. But you ‘ll never know much imagination it has left within you. And how strong it has spoken to your mind just with a few lines.
There are a lot of headless things going on in his work. The headless ostrich. The headless drummer. He is trying to keep us thinking : why has the ostrich lost its head? Where did the ostrich come from? What has made the drummer still playing the instruments devotedly despite his headless situation?
I was sniffing out something to work for my next garden project. Tried to really think what a kind of utopia I am looking for( so as they called it ‘garden’). But seemingly Shrigley’s work is much too conceptual and complex to put in textile.
Still, I have to say it is not usual to see work of art like his. The current British contemporary art has got the tint of product design or graphic design to me. Its about idea. Strong . Clean . Concise. Concept. It is like a kick. a flash. And being witty and kitsch enough is nothing to shy away from.
He’s remained true to his calling for all things humoursly narrative for his drawings, scultures and video art. I have to say I like work that looking at death. and especially in a witty way…
It’s very often there are texts with his work. But what he explained about this inspired me a lot. He said,
‘I am not really interested in graphic art. I’m interested visually and aesthetically in abstract painting….the words don’t describe the pictures and the pictures don’t illustrate the text… They are two different things; their relationship is somehow awkward and has a friction to it.’
It is possible that probably some weird nerds out there drawing similar stuff and those are not quite Shrigley. Things behind these images onslaught are, refering back to what he called, the brain activity. That’s really the only thought process behind his work, triggered by bits and bobs of everyday life, social situation, black humor, absurdity… His work are there for you to be surprised and laugh and they go far beyond those artsy fartsy.
Another exhibition along side is the Joy In People —Jeremy Deller. His work is very socially conscious. His has depicted a lot of stories about freedom and justice. Some popular culture as well…
He has staged his childhood home in the first part of the exhibition. I guess it is showcased like a 3D troduction of how he has been culturally nurtured and influenced since his childhood age.
It is very graphic. A lot of posters, T shirts, photos with strong statements and slogens. He has revealed his private life about all the happy moments, party madness, fashion shows, travelling. A lot of photos of marching which are obviously from some protests. He printed a lot of them just on A4 paper or acetate and pinned on his bedroom ‘s walls. It’s all about scribbling with massive amount of text as well. like: ‘You Treat This Place like A Hotel’, ‘You have been watching’, ‘Archer goes to jail’, ‘South London’.
There is one poster that has really captured my attention. It said,
‘I was born, lucky me.
In a land that I love.
Though I’m poor, I am free.
When I grow I shall fight.
For this land I shall die.
Let her sun never set.’
I think the utopia of Deller is about freedom, liberty and most importantly , people’s voice being listened and respected.
He has brought back an exploded car from the war in Iraq. In his proposal for the Forth Plinth in Trafalgar Square featured two different victims of war in Iraq :an exploded car & a figure of British sciencist David Kelly, who was accused of sharing his doubts regarding the government with journalists and took his own life due to immense pressure from the media and politicians.
When a real object is displayed right in front of me, it speaks to me a lot. It is of its story, what it has been through, what its symbolling and the message.
Deller called it a failure as he wanted to carry out this project but in vain.
I found a story very toching which is towards the end of the exhibition. Its about DREAM! The Exotic Adrian Street is a photograph. [Adrian Street is a name!!] I thought its a street’s name (I’m sorry…) Back in the 1970s. It is about middle-age coalminer dressing in extravagantly glam rock gown. Deller has explained the story behind,
‘the whole history of Britain in that period- our uneasy transition from being a centre of heavy industry to a producer of entertainment and services,’
This photograph depicted the man whose dream was to escape life as a miner to become a professional wrestler .
and….(according to Deller) Adrian is still very much alive and still wrestling in Florida.