Untitled (I Still See Him When I Close My Eyes), 2022
acrylic on paper
55 x 55 cm
[from the pressrelease]
Shrigley’s oeuvre includes classical artistic media such as drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, video, and installation, among others, as well as the publication of numerous books, cartoons for newspapers, his own merchandising products, and the design of record covers. Thus, the exhibition’s title Proposals for Record Covers can also be understood as a reference to his own navigation between the art world— in the narrower sense—and a more commercial context, whereby one does not exclude the other. Instead, these different spheres enrich each other. At the same time, the title can also be understood as an absurd task that does not seek fulfilment.
Formally, the fifty new paintings on display—all acrylic on paper—in fact resemble oversized record covers. They are square, and the subjects are usually depicted frontally and centered; they take up a large part of the surface and are compelling in their reserved colourfulness, which strongly stand out against the background, which is always white. In terms of content, the works are based on the humorous image-text combinations for which Shrigley has become known, particularly in the context of his drawings. These range from obvious tautologies, as in Untitled (Centre Parting) and his surprising health tips as in Untitled (Cigarettes Are Good for You, in a Way) or negotiate strange fears as in Untitled (Red Guitar, Do Not Be Afraid of It), to mention only a few examples.
In these paintings, Shrigley manages to reduce his ideas to the absolute minimum in order to communicate as simply and directly as possible. In combination with his dry, often biting humour, Shrigley’s works address banalities and shortcomings of everyday life, society and the state of the world, in order to demonstrate just how valuable humour is as a means of healthy detachment, especially in times like ours.