Life Model

July 3 - August 2 2014

Galleri Nicolai Wallner is pleased to present a solo exhibition by David Shrigley. The exhibition, Life Model, features the renowned work of the same name that was shown as Shrigley’s presentation for the prestigious Turner Prize Exhibition in 2013 for which he was nominated.

Known for his works focusing on the absurdity of the human condition, David Shrigley takes on the mundane, the melancholic and the disillusioned attributes present in daily life. Presented in a manner that is both serious as well as humorous, Shrigley’s works provide for contemplative reflection as the balance between these two emotions creates a unique point of departure for discussing the more difficult aspects of life.

This discussion is brought to the forefront with Life Model as Shrigley encourages the spectator to literally become part of the work, bringing along with them their own life experiences. With this work, Shrigley takes on one of the fundamental components of fine art education—the life drawing class. The work completely transforms the exhibition space, turning it into a live drawing studio complete with easels, chairs, drawing boards and drawing supplies. A sculpture of a nude boy stands on top of a plinth in the middle of the class in place of the traditional live model. A set of oversized ears, an oddly shaped nose, disproportionate limbs, a gawking facial expression and occasionally blinking eyes combine to create a decidedly awkward appearance. One hand placed firmly on his hip, the boy is in some ways defiant, though this attitude is at odds with the rest of his body language. A metal bucket placed in front of him accentuates this clumsy presence, into which he periodically pees.

The comical nature of the boy juxtaposes the serious nature of the life drawing class, creating a situation wherein the spectator is able to explore. As part of the work, visitors to the gallery are invited to sit down and draw what they see, just as if they were attending a real life drawing class. Their resulting work is pinned on the walls of the exhibition space. This participatory experience creates another dimension to the work, as the spectator’s drawings become part of Shrigley’s work in itself. With Life Model, Shrigley turns the stereotypical relationship between spectator, work, and artist on its head. In a sense, the work becomes about the spectator putting themselves in the place of the artist—instead of taking on passive role, the work necessitates that they become active, that they engage with the work as if it were their own.

David Shrigley (b.1968, UK) has exhibited at Hayward Gallery (London), The National Gallery of Denmark (Copenhagen), Scottish National Gallery (Edinburgh), The Museum of Modern Art (New York), CCAC Institute (San Francisco), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), and Bergen Kunsthall (Bergen) among others. This year he has exhibitions at the National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne) and Pinakothek der Moderne (Munich). David Shrigley won the Fourth Plinth Trafalgar Square commission for 2016, for which he has been commissioned to create a large-scale sculpture.

carrie emberlyn