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Before You Can Entertain (2021)

56 x 75 cm 

14 colour screenprint with a varnish overlay on Somerset Satin Tub sized 410 gsm

Edition of 125 


David Shrigley’s art is infused with a dark, dry humour that highlights the absurdity of our everyday fears and aspirations. He makes sculptures, videos, performs ‘public interventions’, which he then photographs, and produces books. He is, however, best known for his drawings, which, with their deliberately crude, childlike quality are instantly identifiable as his own. They are exhibited or published unaltered, in the way that Shrigley first creates them (he never draws anything twice) and so they often feature scribbled-out parts and misspelt words. As well as being shown in art galleries, his drawings have appeared in a number of popular formats in magazines or on T-shirts, record covers and greetings cards.

Words play an important role across Shrigley’s work. He is interested in how we interpret text and image together, especially when they are combined in witty or conflicting ways. Untitled (Crap) (2007) is typical of many works that satirise the conventions of the contemporary art world, which he knows only too well he is part of. But it may also refer to the kind of public art or sculpture that is often dumped in public places without thought or care. His studies at the Glasgow School of Art emphasised the importance of context in public art, and some of his early works are astute comments on poor examples of our urban environment. Really Good, his sculpture of a hand with its disproportionately large thumb in a ‘thumbs up’ position, will go on display on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth in 2016.

Shrigley’s wry humour extends to his sculptural works including his use of taxidermy. In I’m Dead (2010), a stuffed dog stands on its hind legs holding a sign declaring that it is dead. The artist is interested in the use of signs and public notices as a way of disconcerting the public. Despite the comic nature of many of his works, they are frequently underpinned by a darker theme. Shrigley may be poking fun at the way that museums display stuffed animals as though they were alive, or perhaps referring to protestors who carry placards as a way of publicly displaying messages of discontent. Like many of Shrigley’s works, at its heart, it presents us with a simple and striking moral conundrum: whether we should laugh at death or not.

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Spread the Cost of Your Art Collection with 0% Finance

At Smolensky Gallery we make art accessible to everyone. We offer an interest free* finance option to our UK customers, for many of the artworks we sell. Spread the cost of the art you love, over 10 or 20 months.

To apply, call us and we'll arrange your finance application for you:

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Many of the pieces at Smolensky Gallery have the option to add a hand-crafted frame.

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Our experts will cut, join and assemble each frame by hand to the exact dimensions of your artwork, creating your perfect finished work of art, ready to hang on your wall.

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Your Framing Options

Box framing is provided with all our online framing, creating a distance between the glass and your artwork, so no risk of ink transfer to the pane. it's the perfect, gallery grade choice for limited edition prints or original artworks.

Shadow float mounting is an option at our website, to give the appearance of an artwork floating within the frame. The mount – an archival foam core – creates depth too, by casting a shadow beneath the artwork. We highly recommend using a float mount when framing artwork with deckled (hand-torn) edges.

As always, all our materials are sustainable and archival to keep your artwork in mint condition and perfectly presented. Simply choose from our white or black float framing options, before adding to basket.

Glazing all our framing orders are shipped with glass. We take great care with packaging to protect your artwork.

Alternatively, for added piece of mind, we've the option of gallery grade cast acrylic, offering superb clarity and protection.

If you would prefer acrylic or other options such as ornate frames or UV protection, please call our gallery team on +44 (0)7799 165062 for a quote, or message us at the bottom right of this page.


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