DAVID Shrigley, guest director of Brighton Festival 2018, says this bizarre and unique event will encourage visitors to get creative.

Life Model II is the follow-up to the original Life Model, Shrigley’s installation that was nominated for the Turner Prize. The piece is effectively a life drawing class, except the model is a nine-foot sculpture rather than a nude human. Guests will sit in a circle around the sculpture and draw it in whatever style they see fit.

The end results will then be displayed on the walls of Fabrica. Shrigley says he designed Life Model II with the intention of subverting the idea of visual art as elitist, joking that he himself “has built a career around not demonstrating many craft skills”.

“I showed the original incarnation of the work in the Turner Prize show because I thought that people see the arts as inaccessible.

“I suppose that’s what the piece is about, that art is for everybody, and that making art is for everybody as well. It’s a therapeutic thing, it’s something that can make you happy.”

The first Life Model featured a reconstruction of naked man urinating a bucket. Like the second version, visitors were invited to draw the sculpture. In her review for The Observer, art critic Laura Cumming praised the installation for “admitting all-comers”.

Shrigley, who is presenting a number of events at Brighton Festival, is adamant that everybody can be creative if they keep an open mind.

“For some reason the majority of us are dissuaded from making art, in terms of education,” he says. “We stop making it when we’re about 10 years old because we think we’re not good at drawing. Life Model for me is some kind of redress, and there’s something positive and joyful in that redress.”

Shrigley’s distinctive drawing style and ironic humour are etched all over the Brighton Festival programme, and the director will be hoping his inclusive approach to art rubs off on the city over the next six weeks. In a sense, Life Model II is representative of the artist’s ethos in general.

“It’s a piece about drawing, it’s a piece about everybody being included, about participating and making an exhibition yourself,” he says. “It’s an artwork that begets other artwork.”

It’s easy to automatically assume you can’t draw. Perhaps Life Model II will challenge that view.

More Shrigley events at the arts festival

Problem In Brighton

The Old Market, Hove, May 10 to 12, various times

Shrigley describes this production as a “pop pantomime” and it features instruments of his design, such as a one-string guitar. The show is a mix of music, theatre and visual art. Expect mosh pits – and bring ear plugs. 

David Shrigley Talk

Brighton Dome, May 23, 8pm

The guest director will give an illustrated talk about his work, which, he says “will contain numerous rambling anecdotes but will not be in the slightest bit boring”. It will be a good introduction to his art for some, and a fascinating insight for his fans.

A **** Odyssey

Duke Of York’s Picturehouse, Brighton, May 21, 9pm

A film documenting Shrigley’s “sort-of opera” Pass The Spoon, which toured theatres in 2011.

Life Model II
Brighton Festival, Fabrica Gallery,
April 14 to May 28, Entry is free. Fabrica is open from 12pm to 5pm (2pm to 5pm on Sundays). For more information visit brightonfestival.org or call 01273 709709