Key facts about the artist

Just popped out back in 2 hours
Just popped out back in 2 hours (2008)

Sherry's work presents social awkwardness as an important and often painful part of being human
Northern Ireland
Belfast and Glasgow
Becks Futures Shortlist 2003
Villa Concordia, Bamberg, Germany 2006-2007


Video: GENERATION:TG - Artists talk to pupils from Edinburgh schools, 2014

Video: David Sherry - Running for the tram (2012)

About David's work

David Sherry draws attention both to the ordinary events of everyday life and the intricate structures of the art world, by subtle interventions or absurd exaggerations. Working mainly as a performance artist, Sherry takes a playful approach to his drawing, painting, photography and video work too. His work presents social awkwardness as an important and often painful part of being human.

In Electrical Appliance (2011), an enormous plug and thick wire are attached to Sherry’s head. As he lies on the floor, passers-by are welcome to step over him. Absurd in a way that is typical of Sherry’s work, the work also touches on serious ideas. The link Sherry makes between the human and the electrical reminds the viewer of our own relationship with power. Whether we decide to ignore the ecological and economic problems we have produced is up to us. The bright yellow prongs of the plug jut into the air, creating a comic spectacle. Whilst the artist lies still on the ground, passers-by must make a conscious decision whether or not to avoid him. Why is the plug not in use? Is the artist also commenting on the way we all can ‘switch off’ or zone out? This vacant state of mind seems to be of recurring interest to Sherry. Just popped out back in 2 hours (2008) consists of a chair, the artist, and a post-it note. The post-it note reads ‘Just popped out back in 2 hours’, and is stuck to the artist’s head. With a glazed look in his eyes, he sits gawping as the viewer walks around him. To read the note, the viewer must lean in quite closely. 

David Sherry does simple things that other people don’t think to do. Although much of his art plays with a detailed knowledge of recent art history, and in particular our expectations of performance art, it also touches on everyday emotions, embarrassments and frustrations. We can see ourselves in his work.


David Sherry (born 1974 in Northern Ireland) gained his BA in Fine Art from the University of Ulster, Belfast, in 1997. He then went on to complete his MFA at The Glasgow School of Art in 2000. He has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally. In 2003, Sherry was shortlisted for the Beck’s Futures Prize. Between 2006 and 2007, the artist had a residency at Villa Concordia, in Bamberg, Germany. He currently lives and works in Glasgow.

More information

Noel Kelly and Seán Kissane (eds), Creative Ireland: The Visual Arts, Visual Artists Ireland, Dublin, 2012

Jesper Febricius et al. (eds), Pist Protta 71: Pist Protta in Glasgow, Space Poetry, Copenhagen, 2012

Rebecca Gordon Nesbitt (ed.), David Sherry: Dead dog on a fire, Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art, Helsinki, 2002