It is evident that the state of the world as we know it has gone, in a lighter sense, downhill. With easy access to news in real-time, and the constant, juxtapositional barrage of both political, climate, and celebrity news: What does one get then, when we put two acerbic mega-weight artists known for their satirical and cynical style?
Joan Cornellà and David Shrigley have both gathered a sizable international following for their upbeat social commentary on the bleak side of everyday life and human nature. Coming from Spain and the UK respectively, VOTE serves to show that despite the clash of artistic styles and cultural influences, the want to poke some inquisitive fun at the mundaneness of societal norms is universal.
And where better to hold the collaboration of two nonconforming artists such as Cornellà and Shrigley? Deviating from the traditional art dealership, Void Deck has placed its focus on exhibitions both on-site and outdoors. This move has stayed in line with the space's mission to make art more inclusive for the everyday man, without feeding the myth that art harbours a sense of social marginalisation.
David Shrigley OBE
David Shrigley OBE was born in 1968 and grew up in Leicester, UK. He studied at the Glasgow School of Art and now lives in Branscombe and Brighton. Shrigley's work encompasses drawing, painting, sculpture, animation, performance, and music, all of which have been showcased around the globe. An author of over 30 graphic books, Shrigley’s drawings have also made their appearance in numerous newspapers and magazines. He held a retrospective exhibition at Hayward Gallery in London in 2012 and was then shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2013. He was awarded the 2016 Fourth Plinth commission for Trafalgar Square. In 2020, he was awarded the OBE – an official British honour presented by the Queen – for his contribution to the Visual Arts sector.
Joan Cornellà rose to internet fame with his cartoons, which highlighted the absurd and disconnected nature of contemporary life. Cornellà initially worked as an illustrator for several Spanish publications and contributed to the New York Times, reserving his most macabre works for his pages on social media. Although Cornellà rose to fame mainly via his fans’ social media shares, the artist has also exhibited at shows in New York and Hong Kong, with his works fetching up to US$45,000 on the secondary market. As an artist, Cornellà acts to inspire others to examine the contrast between misery and humour in everyday life.
With VOTE, Cornella and Shrigley have come together in a mashup mega exhibition and artistic showdown, and this edition under the Void Deck brand, brought forth through the foundational initiative of the eCommerce platform – DDT Store, birthed yet another other-worldly artwork courtesy of the two artists. Aside from the 8 silkscreen prints collectors are most familiar with, the exclusive four-toed sculptural piece inspired from one of the prints was conceived as a unique collectible only available in this Southeast Asia showcase. With only 100 sculptural iterations produced and only 5 sets of the silkscreen prints available for purchase in Singapore, a balloting system was put in place, allowing each purchase of the SG$1,800 sculptural piece a chance to obtain the prints at SG$10,000.
Says the art space’s co-founder, Jazz Li, “Collectors were really into it, but those outside the industry were taken aback by the four-toed foot, and it makes me wonder how such element of surprise brings people a step closer into the industry in attempts to satiate their curiosity – could the lack of a toe symbolise the discord and loss after a failed relationship?” As the conversation delved into the parameters of the prints, Jazz commented, “The art industry thinks, sometimes, that prints are inferior to the original works; yet, the artists still managed to have their audiences lost within the satires of the content instead of harping on the perceived quality bias, and that speaks volumes on the works these two heavyweights have put together.”
Each artist hopes to relight a conversation on why we do the things that we do from day to day, and why we abide by certain unspoken rules without any further investigation. In a generation that is often left to pick up the pieces without question, VOTE is an ode to a world of new-age leaders; a generation that is not afraid to ask, “Why?”.