Brain Activity – David Shrigley

February 24, 2012 § 2 Comments

To laugh or not to laugh?

That is question that goes through your mind as you walk through Brain Activity, the exhibition by British artist, David Shrigley.

What is the appropriate reaction to seeing a taxidermy Jack Russell terrier holding a sign displaying the words ‘I’m Dead’?

For most people the answer seemed to be ‘not to laugh.’ Instead, a look of polite bemusement, followed by a wry smile and a shake of the head. Myself included.

First Major UK Exhibition

In his first major survey exhibition in the United Kingdom, Shrigley displays a variety of his artwork including drawings, photography, sculpture, animation and paintings.

His work is a mixture of the crude, the bizarre and the surprisingly funny. Talking about his exhibition, Shirgley has said that he hopes people’s responses are ones of “laughter, intrigued confusion and disquiet.”

Housed in the Howard Gallery, at the Southbank Centre, the exhibition itself starts in the lift. As you rise to the main galleries you are surrounded by a voice talking passively about monkeys. You heard correctly, monkeys.

The Exhibition Itself 

The main part of the exhibition is made up of nine sections: death, everyday life, headlessnes, Do not Linger at the Gate, sleep, drawing, relationships, misshapen things and insects.

Particularly interesting was the ‘insects’ section. Hundreds of creepy crawlies, of various sizes, constructed from painted steel and fiberplast, fill a quarter of one of the rooms.

Some are oddly hand-like, with their fingers pointing at you. It’s strangely captivating, but probably not best for those with arachnophobia.

While the exhibition may not be to everyone’s taste, is at least deserving of a look in. At £6 for students, it’s money, and an hour, well spent.

‘Brain Activity’ is on until May 13 at the Southbank Centre. Nearest tube: Waterloo or Embankment.

NB: originally posted on The Bowler Hat.

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