David Shrigley - Brain Activity

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Bring me home, please

To fully appreciate David Shrigley's Brain Activity show at the Hayward Gallery, you need to suspend all expectations that contemporary art is not allowed to be light, funny and somewhat perfunctory.

Shrigley used to work as a newspaper cartoonist but he leads a parallel life as a successful fine artist and Hayward is showing his drawings but also his photographs, sculptures, paintings, animations, installations and plenty of taxidermy. Sometimes the humour is dark, sometimes absurd, sometimes plain idiotic. In fact, the journalists and critics who reviewed the show are either almost in a state of rapturous delight or they question whether what he does is art or not.

Reading the mini catalogue of the show i realize that during my visit i missed 'the artist's hoard of personal toenail clippings'. I'm glad i did. But i did smile when i saw the big LOOK AT THIS sign on the terrace, the corpse of a rat left on the floor that you might never see if you don't happen to look down, the taxidermy dog standing on its rear legs to brandish a message that confirms that its is indeed dead, the row of boots that seem to come straight out of a cartoon, the carelessly sketched silhouettes, etc. It was rough, direct and cheerful. Brain Activity brought a brief and distracting parenthesis in my day and i hope that the images below will entertain you for a moment too:

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David Shrigley, Lost, 1996 
Image © the artist and courtesy of the artist

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I'm Dead, 2010. Installation view of David Shrigley: Brain Activity at the Hayward Gallery. Photo: Linda Nylind

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Installation view of David Shrigley: Brain Activity at the Hayward Gallery. Photo: Linda Nylind

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The Bell, 2007 (the text reads "Not to be rung again until Jesus returns")

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Boots, 2010

0Balloon (2002).jpg
David Shrigley, Balloon, 2002. 
Image © the artist and courtesy of the artist

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Installation view of David Shrigley: Brain Activity at the Hayward Gallery. Photo: Linda Nylind

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Untitled, 2011. Courtesy of David Shrigley and Yvon Lambert

banabYL_26-6-11_086.jpg
Untitled, 2011. Courtesy of David Shrigley and Yvon Lambert

justicYL_26-6-11_048.jpg
Untitled, 2011. Courtesy of David Shrigley and Yvon Lambert

oceanYL_26-6-11_083.jpg
Untitled, 2011. Courtesy of David Shrigley and Yvon Lambert


New Friends, 2006

You tube has a collection of animated films by David Shrigley.

I'll end with the trailer of the exhibition:

David Shrigley: Brain Activity remains open until Sunday 13 May 2012 at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Center, London.

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