Astonishing Science. Spectacular museum.
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Image Science Museum/Jennie Hills
Image Andreas Schmidt
Location: Who am I?, first floor Wellcome Wing
Complex language sets us apart from other animals, and the ability to play with language is a uniquely human trait. David Shrigley was invited to make a series of new works for the Who am I? gallery in 2000 because of his sharp wit and erudite ability to reveal the absurdities within human language and our search for shared meaning. In 2010 when the gallery was updated a selection of the work he created was installed in the Unique Human Cognitive Abilities case.
The objects that make up Shrigley's untitled installation are found scattered on the floor of the case, for example 'The British Swearing Association Challenge Cup' - a 'good' reward for so-called 'bad' language; a vinyl record labelled ‘a terribly long and boring conversation 1 RPM'; and a photograph of a prelingual child staring purposefully into the camera, holding a Lego board with the sentence 'I Have Swallowed a Piece of Lego' displayed on it. They humorously serve to demonstrate the particular power of words and images as tools to communicate - and subvert - intentions, meaning and emotion.
David Shrigley's (born 1968) drawings, animations, books and photographs suggest his own uniquely skewed perspective on the modern world. He has published over 35 books, had a weekly cartoon in the Guardian's 'Weekend' magazine and has created short films, animations and magazine illustrations.
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