David Shrigley. I first heard of him when I visited Kunsthaus Zürich in 2003. Unfortunately I can’t remember much of his works on view and no photos I’m afraid (again this was before my rebelliousness in museums). I do remember not just standing in front of his works but having to get down on my knees and looking up close at his humorous drawings and sculptures. After spending a couple months in Italy amazed by the traditional sculptures and paintings, Shrigley’s exhibition was a refreshing experience. I’ve been a fan since. (And this was before I moved to London. I guess I was destined to live amongst the Brits and embrace their culture and especially understand their humour.) I thought he’d win the Turner Prize in 2013 for his solo exhibition at the Hayward Gallery (I still play with his Light Switch app on my iPhone), and I’m looking forward to seeing his Really Good sculpture to be installed as Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth in 2016.
Most recently, I dined at Sketch, a French restaurant in Mayfair. But not knowing much about their food, I immediately booked a table once I found out David Shrigley was commissioned to design one of the main dining rooms as well as the dinnerware. (Actually, I found out about their £50 discount. Have you seen their prices? It ain’t cheap!). It was the 2nd design by an artist as Martin Creed was the first to do so. The restaurant also has a curated exhibition programme, and in fact the entire restaurant is covered with art.
After a drink in The Glade (No, I didn’t get someone’s number. That’s part of the napkin’s design), we entered the Gallery for dinner and one word screams to mind, PINK. And the walls are of course adorned with original works available by Shrigley:
Even staff had uniforms – loose pink dresses for the hostesses, brown suits for some of the gentlemen (managers? connoisseurs?), and grey jumpsuits for the waiting staff. I thought the entire room and ambience had a contemporary art deco feel to it.
And I didn’t know if I was more excited about the food or seeing Shrigley’s humour featured on the dinnerware. At times I was at odds with myself – should I savour my meal as long as I can, rush through it to get to the joke (if there was one), or move the food around to reveal it (but that would be cheating!)
Needless to say it was a strange experience, and I enjoyed myself. Now I need to one up with a Dizzy Dali dinner (I totally want to throw surreal party!):
I just wish I could acquire one of Shrigley’s original drawings on display in the Gallery. That’s OK, my Cruet Set will do for now: