The Write Idea: David Shrigley’s Mural at Sketch, London

With wall to wall satirical drawings and custom china on an interior backdrop by renowned designer, India Mahdavi, The Gallery at Sketch reopens with another unique dining experience.

Mourad Mazouz & chef Pierre Gagnaire founded Sketch in 2002. A unique space culminating in design, architecture, fine art and cuisine, the 18th Century building in Mayfair has been transformed into a modern day play on all the senses. Among the several zones, The Gallery in particular has undergone several redesigns, and this year’s renovation is founded on David Shrigley’s ethos that “Clean artwork is good artwork.”

Opening for lunch, afternoon tea and dinner on 6th June 2014, guests are invited to enjoy the surrounding 239 drawings, touching on the grand themes of life, death and beyond. While flirting with existential crises, they may lend their palates to the culinary endeavors of Gagnaire himself who will lend his three Michelin stars to an a la carte interpretation of Shrigley’s décor.

Turner prize nominated and Fourth Plinth commissioned, Shrigley is best known for his cartoon like drawings, making satirical commentary on everyday life and human interaction. This exhibit is his largest to date, and including his contributions to the table, is a unique expressionist experience for the artist. This is his first time creating something that could go in the dishwasher – finally a form of art that can be even cleaner that the sharp lines and striking black on white of his brushstrokes. Stacked like an army across the gallery’s midriff, the cartoons take on the true form of a newspaper comic strip, reading like a narrative throughout the space.

Mahdavi is similarly accomplished having been recently named to Architectural Digest’s 2014 AD100 list. Rather than provide a blank canvas for Shrigley’s to sit upon, she has challenged our preconceptions of bistro design, the meaning of gallery space and the ability to digest the color pink. To complement the artwork, she has created a fun yet calming ambience with allusions to the avant-garde typical of Sketch, and distractions from pretentious artistic appreciation. Her playful use of color and bourgeois fabrics creates a deliberate dialogue with Shrigley’s stark, witty sketches.

With a minimalist monochrome color scheme and his classic sketch style, Shrigley’s drawings and dinnerware alike make a subtle contrast with the flush pink backdrop throughout The Gallery. Creating an edgy yet playful balance, the pieces are notably the main focus without aggressive announcement, gently guiding the eye from one to the other. While salt shakers labelled “dust”, “nothing” and “dirt” add a touch of nihilism to the table banter, their chirpy, fresh design rescues the conversation from a Beckettian fall. By coffee, the whole party will be uplifted by a creamer called “dream” and a sweetening dose of “it’s ok.”

With such simple effects as a singular color background and a classic black and white detail, with a michelin menu to match, The Gallery takes guests on an experience that appeals to all the senses, invites tastes of varying sorts, and allows the very walls to talk.

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