In February, London’s Hayward Gallery will mount a major survey of his work. To stuﬀ the show with new art, he says, he had to trick himself into thinking he wasn’t actually making art at all.
In a spiral notebook, he jotted down 180 ideas for 180 pieces. Most consist of a few purposely cryptic words, intended as jumping- oﬀ points. No. 116 is ‘‘sea monster smiling’’; others are equally open-ended: ‘‘sword ﬁght,’’ ‘‘dog on its hind legs,’’ ‘‘William Shakespeare.’’ ‘‘I try not to think too hard about what I’m doing,’’ Shrigley says. ‘‘I’m just crossing things oﬀ a list and ﬁ lling a page, and the work gets made as a byproduct of that task.’’
…The overall eﬀect is like discovering the sketchbook of a boy who taught himself to draw while locked in a basement. ‘‘I’m not trying to draw badly,’’ says Shrigley, who graduated from the Glasgow School of Art. ‘‘I’m just trying to draw without any consideration of craft.’’