With motifs often straying from one work to another, Pigott’s work has the blend of simplicity and complexity that often characterises a rich interior world externalised. In ‘SMS Me’ a cucumber watches other cucumbers re-enacting Velazquez’s ‘Rokeby Venus’ on an iPhone, while slices of cucumber rest on the floor like hunks of green flesh. It’s a bizarre, oddly sexualised scene that seems to depict the individual willingly participating in the same culture that mutilates it. And yet those relentlessly upbeat smiley faces — the same ones that make the cucumbers human — combine with the high-vitamin colour scheme to suggest a blissful world of permanent smoothies and breakfast-time optimism, offsetting the work’s gloomier undercurrents.
The advent of the trivialisation of information brought about by social media and other online sources is imperative to Pigott’s current practice. Works like the exhibition title piece, ‘Juicy Bits’, discuss the tendency for cultural online content to present audiences with countless “best of” lists; not only over-simplifying paths for personal discovery, but also our subsequent experiences. The artist’s interest also lies in communicating the disposable nature of Western society in our pursuit of instant gratification that has been accelerated further by recent technological developments. This is explored in ‘Fake Plastic Flowers’ where the main subject contemplates, nervously picking her teeth, as to whether or not she should take the easy road and purchase the mass-produced plastic flowers online, as opposed to committing her time and energy to the unique real thing.
Pigott’s plan to produce one painting a day throughout the course of this new show provides a final example of his highly developed fusion of playfulness and cynicism. Adapting Mikhail Bulgakov’s satirical 1925 novel Heart of A Dog to contemporary discussions about the ‘creative industries’, Pigott ironises the apparently contradictory demand placed on artists to be reliable producers of the unexpected. At the same time, the work adds a ‘live’ element that quenching our thirst for the artist to be present within the cosmos of his own work — a last, sideways comment on the interactions between identity, creativity and performance that form the centre of this diverse and distinctive exhibition.