What are we talking about?
The first major UK show of artist David Shrigley's work, displayed over the upper floors of the Hayward Gallery.
Brain teasers: comic art rises to the top.
David Shrigley, 43, a Glaswegian artist best known for his acerbic, amusing, absurdist drawings, text and animations.
The works themselves – of which there are some 175, ranging from short films and animations, to caustic cartoons, paintings and photographs, and a series of stuffed animals. He'll be responding directly to the venue with a new work for the sculpture terrace, and a large wall painting.
The Early Buzz
With his accessible, funny, even crude approach, Shrigley isn't everyone's cup of tea – or idea of an "artist" – so it's already caused a little bit of fuss. In this paper, Charles Darwent wrote, "No year would be complete without a smattering of Young [sic] British Artists ... Most contentiously, David Shrigley will be given the run of the Hayward Gallery's upper floors ... Shrigley's faux-naive cartoons and stuffed Jack Russells divide critical opinion, some seeing him as a witty subverter of daily life, others merely as a bad comic with ideas above his station." It's clear which side The Telegraph's Richard Dorment is on: "Even when you are laughing at the jokes in Shrigley's dry, understated drawings, you recognise some small and usually unpalatable truth about yourself."
Shrigley is also branching out into "sort-of opera": Pass the Spoon will be staged on 5 and 6 May at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Created with composer David Fennessy and director Nicholas Bone, it features singing vegetables, a giant butcher, an ambitious banana and panic-stricken celebrity chefs.
It's great that...
His animation The Letter – in which a hand pens an absence note to Mrs Teacher – will be projected on the outside of the Royal Festival Hall after dusk for a fortnight, starting 13 February.
It's a shame that...
The title of one of the "sculptures" is literal: Five Years of Toenail Clippings really is a glass sphere containing said years' worth of toenail clippings. Yeuch.
Some may turn their noses up – but then the Hayward may also find that the show has an appeal beyond regular gallery-goers.
David Shrigley: Brain Activity is at the Hayward Gallery, London SE1 (southbankcentre.co.uk), 1 February to 13 May .