David Shrigley at Kelvingrove
This article is from 2010.
A wee stuffed dog standing upright on its back feet with a placard that says ‘I’m dead’ welcomes you to the Study Centre in Kelvingrove Museum. Glasgow-based artist David Shrigley has replaced the objects usually on display in the vitrines and drawers with his own.
While Shrigley is better known for his humorous doodle-like drawings, this exhibition focuses on his sculptures – mostly made out of ceramics. All the objects are displayed without any titles, labels, dates or explanation, but here and there you will find the remains of the previous display juxtaposed with a tiny figure curled up in a larger than life-sized ceramic earlobe. Pull out a draw and you may find a dead rat next door to a drawer filled with neatly packed crackers of different shapes and sizes.
The lack of interpretative material is reminiscent of museums with less funding: the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, for instance, with its antiquarian clutter, broken statues and missing mummies, where interpretation is only available through your guide – who will provide a completely unique version of the story. Here, your only guide is a Shrigleyesque take on things: Frankenstein-like drawings of stuff growing out of a vase through an intricate net attempting to animate the inanimate; a suit of armour that has been offered a selection of black wellies; and a tooth that weighs 19.5kgs.
Whimsical wit and manifestations of the absurd abound, but it is intriguing how comfortably this subversive exhibition sits within its surroundings.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, until Mon 3 May