The arrival of a new book from David Shrigley is always a pleasant way to begin the week: titled Weak Messages Create Bad Situations, this latest tome from the artist is published by Canongate and features over 400 new drawings. As you might imagine, it is rather amusing…
Shrigley has found fame both within the art world and beyond for his witty yet surreal drawings, sculptures and installations. Humour is central to his art, making him an unusual proposition in galleries and museums, where chuckles are often hard to find. He has been hugely successful in these realms despite this, with a major retrospective at the Hayward Gallery in London in 2012 proving immensely popular. The release of this book precedes another significant retrospective in November, this time held at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.
There are several books of Shrigley’s work in existence, and print is the perfect format to view his drawings, which will initially make you laugh out loud, before you notice the dark profundity that lies behind the humour. The printed page was also apparently the first medium Shrigley chose for sharing his work, by creating booklets on a Xerox machine and selling them in the pubs around Glasgow, where he studied at Glasgow School of Art and still lives.
This new book comes in the form of a manfiesto, opening with the statement: “It is my duty to represent the world as I see it.” Shrigley then divides the drawings into eight chapters, where he takes on topics as varied as politics, the arts, and insects. According to the press release, the book proposes to be an antidote to the views of the “feeble-minded” people running the country who “don’t know what the hell is going on”. In this Shrigley is in good company, arriving at a time when extremist views appear to be particularly in vogue. Unlike some others however, Shrigley’s manifesto is full of hilarity, alongside observations about the world that are both astute and absurd. Here’s a selection of pages from it:
Weak Messages Create Bad Situations is published by Canongate for £25 as a hardback, or £19.99 as an ebook. More info is here. Fans of Shrigley also have the arrival of his Fourth Plinth sculpture in 2016 to look forward to, when he will deliver a 10 metre-high thumbs up to Trafalgar Square in London.