Born 1958, London, England
So dissolved are categories of practice in the present productions of Shaun Kirby, it's impossible to refer to him as a painter, a sculptor, a bricoleur or an installer, though he is each of those. Certainly he is an artist, but one for whom art is less a defining noun than an indefinite article. Flux, not fixity, is his element. His avowal is for ambiguity of meaning, or multiplicity of it, to the extent that any uni–dimensional reading of the work depraves it.
This is not to rank Kirby as an author of artistic non-sequiturs, though he can be relished for his irrationality. As with any playful undertaking, including the most playful of all – psychoanalysis – rim belief is required to begin, as well as to conclude, the session. We come to Kirby as player–patients. He's our compere–therapist.
The title of his recent miscellany, International Headache Conference, advertised a pedigree at the fantastic end of art-historical style, as though early Dada was projectile–vomiting toward the late Surreal. Comprising several independent conceptions in apparent conversation, this crypto–aesthetic event was dominated by a pavilion propped on a Dali–esque armature of sticks. An architectural escapee from the wilder backwoods of the psyche, it boasted the appellation, Next To Nothing, a position it dared to occupy authoritatively.
Bruce James from the 1998 Samstag catalogue, Samstag 98 : This Thing Called Art
1998 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship
1998 MA in Fine Art, Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam
1997 Master of Arts (Research) Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne
1985 Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts), South Australian School of Art, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia