From August 23 to November 14, 2018, the British Council and power station of Design, a creative extension of the Power Station of Art are pleased to present together the premiere solo exhibition of British artist David Shrigley. Entitled Lose Your Mind, the exhibition showcases more than 400 pieces of Untitled Drawings, a 1:1 scale inflatable version of Really Good, and other signature works over the past 30 years representative of Shrigley’s irreverent take on the intersections between art, design and popular culture. The exhibition hopes to shake up our assumptions by breaking down existing understandings of contemporary art.
Shrigley is known for his clever use of puns, satirical play-on-words, to present his unique black humour and absurd surrealist depictions of everyday situations. What is behind the seeming cynicism is the artist's insight into the human condition and his criticism of the ‘cliché’. The artist sets up multiple rousing hurdles for the upcoming exhibition. Audiences must enter through a “Death Gate” and a “展覧会” neon sign that is deliberately mis-spelled; adjacent to a wall installation exclaiming "I Am A Person". There are also other playful, misleading signage such as a "No Photograph" sign and an actual photograph which tells the viewer to "Imagine the Green is Red". Even remaining vigilant, it will seem, as the exhibition title indicates, you will have inevitably, “lost” your mind. Perhaps this is the purpose of the exhibition: to allow people to empty the contents of their brain and get enlightened and replenished by the likeness of chaos.
David Shrigley has remained very interested in and passionate about art since he was young. He once said, “Drawing was fun when I was at infant school, and it’s fun now.” He regards creating as a spontaneous and natural process and uses art to record the mundane banality found in daily life. The exhibition showcases over 400 pieces of Untitled Drawings, which is an ongoing work he created from 2004 to 2014. The black and white wiggling lines recognise how skilfully the artist deals with the subtle relationships between graphic and text, allowing for a simple self-expressiveness in his drawings, avoiding use of any lofty language and excessive explanation. The artist also avails himself in creating installations which reconstruct a new world. Insects comprise of approximately 400 insect-like sculptures and form a micro-universe that has sprung from the artist’s imagination. This work uses both space and objects within space as a way to intervene within our collective imagination. In 2016, his 7-metre-high bronze sculpture Really Good showing an elongated ‘thumb’s up,’ was selected for one of the most important public art commissions in the UK, the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square. The sculpture drew significant attention and made people to rethink the dichotomies found within daily life. A 1:1 scale inflatable version of Really Good is specially commissioned for this exhibition. With this reproduction, realised as a cartoon-like balloon sculpture, the artist invites us to consider things we deem to be ‘really bad’ and seeks to turn them into something positive.
Shrigley queries the existing definition of contemporary art, and constantly challenges the traditional boundaries of art-making through his everyday creative practice. His work Boots explores the boundaries between art and craft; with the mode of display equally evoking the atmosphere of a retail store and the presentation of artefacts or fine artworks within a natural history museum. Spectre exhibits an empty pedestal and 300 drawings by a wide range of people; including children, adults, amateurs and professionals. By doing so, the installation re-examines authenticity and imitation in an artwork. Circling on the canvas itself, The Artist is a robot creating marks with colourful pens inserted in his nostrils. It explores the act of automation within a mechanical age. In the preparatory stage of this exhibition, David Shrigley will work with local volunteers to complete a two-ton clay work called Beginning, Middle and End. Shrigley has said ‘maybe it’s a metaphor for life: a very short beginning, a very short end, and a huge middle bit where lots of stuff seems to be happening’. It is the artist’s clear hope that the construction of this work will question the relationship between objects found in a traditional museum and the finished artwork which is completed by audiences themselves. This process of communal making is akin to other projects in which Shrigley cleverly contradicts or irreverently pokes fun at the concept of what it means to be ‘an artist’.
David Shrigley straddles the spheres of art and design with ease. He has published many artist books and his drawings are regularly reproduced as T-shirts, badges and are extremely popular internationally. With his first solo show in China, Shrigley will collaborate with psD on a series of original design products. The jointly developed garment collection between Shrigley and the designer brand “Boundless” will also be displayed in the newly furbished metal boxes of psD along the Huangpu River and also sold at the Power Store.
This exhibition is also supported by Shanghai International Culture Association.
Lose Your Mind, David Shrigley Exhibition
23 August to 14 November 2018
power station of DESIGN
Organizer： power station of DESIGN
Support：Shanghai International Culture Association (SICA)