DAVID SHRIGLEY
August 28 - September 11, 2000
 
 

 
 
During the coming two weeks, the Secession will show a work by David Shrigley, who has also accepted the invitation to give an artistic comment on the current political situation in Austria.. (Open letter to the Austrian president by the board of the Secession).
 
 

 
 
In Glasgow, where Shrigley is based, he runs "Armpit Press" where he published several books of his drawings, including "Enquiry Within" (1995) and "Drawings Done Whilst on Phone to Idiot" (1996). "Err" (1996) was one of the first books in the New Writing series published by Book Works in London. David Shrigley's works in particular his drawings, but also his plasticine sculptures seem to come from the world of cartoons but they are more than just slapstick comedy. The humour in his works is much too black for that, but laughter about the motif or the scene can turn it into something positive: "... Shrigley's comedy appears to confirm the belief of great humorists (from Laurence Sterne to Woody Allen) that laughter is synonymous with hope." (Michael Bracewell).
 
Many of his drawings and sculptures deal with the little tragedies of every-day life or the limits of daily routines. Shrigley presents a world of pure coincidence, absurdities and a devil who, in numerous appearances, is having fun for the sake of fun alone. His presence reduces life to a struggle between good and evil.
 
In the work created for the Secession, the silhouette of a black-clad figure takes a central position a man in a cloak, with a hat and pipe is standing amidst a desolate snow-covered landscape with a forest in the background. A threatening faceless figure, his own uncanniness undermined by the pipe. Associations with scarecrows or the bogeyman, who is a "man in black" in the game played by Austrian children, come to mind. Both cause fear which is allayed once you find out that the threatening figure is actually a kind of life-size doll or once you react fast enough in the game. But what about the pipe? Does it cause you to underestimate the danger or is the figure nothing but the shadow of ourselves which Shrigley equips with the attribute of gemütlichkeit?
 
Further artists include: Monica Bonvicini, Paul McCarthy, Milica Tomic, Heimo Zobernig.
 
 
For updated information please contact Matthias Herrmann, Sylvie Liska and Eleonora Louis at the Vienna Secession on +43- 1- 587 53 07.