The Deadpan World Of David Shrigley At BALTIC

By Freya McClelland Published: 17 September 2008

A cartoon drawing of a hand reaching out to flick a lightswitch

David Shrigley's Lightswitch (2007) ©The artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London

Exhibition Preview - David Shrigley at BALTIC until November 9 2008

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art is hosting an exhibition of new work by Scottish based artist David Shrigley which consists of previously unseen animations and sculptures.

Shrigley, best known for his cartoon-like deadpan drawings, portrays a deliberately dysfunctional and doubt-ridden aspect of the human condition. Yet while he has a refined sense of the ridiculous, his work raises important and serious questions about what art is, and why people buy it.

A pair of grey fishing waders and wellington boots filled with expanding foam

David Shrigley's Cheers (2007) Waders with foam © The artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London

Shrigley parodies an excessive culture market through, seemingly, crude and ill-quality sculptures. He satirises a mass consumption of art that lacks real meaning while demonstrating the ease in which such trends can be exploited.

With a dream-like ‘Alice in Wonderland’ quality, Shrigley's sculpture plays with form, transforming and distorting everyday objects or playing with scale. Particularly striking is the exhibit ‘Cheers’, a pair of grey fishing waders and Wellington boots filled with expanding foam.

Other works include black and white films, stuffed animals and doors. Tents and sleeping bags have a life of their own and grow uncontrollably, perhaps even beyond the control of Shrigley himself.

A cartoon drawing of a man asleep with his mouth wide open

David Shrigley's Sleep (2008) © the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London

On a more macabre theme, Gravestone, a giant stone engraving, looks at fears and attitudes towards mortality. Comedy is entwined with a need to expose a dystopian vision of the world. This is the first time Gravestone has been presented at BALTIC.

Shrigley has exhibited extensively and has an international profile. His work has become widely known through a weekly contribution to The Guardian and through television, album design and music videos. Musicians have also interpreted his writing as lyrics.

Admission to this exhibition is free

More information on David Shrigley can be found on

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