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David Shrigley

A 12-metre-tall inflatable swan raises and lowers its neck. The swan has a blank, nonchalant expression and no beak. This repetitive movement, the stationary body and the vacant facial expression testify that there is something wrong with this swan, that it’s not quite like other swans. The comparison with a phallus, alternatively flaccid and erect, cannot be ignored.

The Swan Thing concept has been commercialized and is sold, including in the artist’s own shop, as a bath toy, a stress ball, a snow globe and a key ring. On the back of the swan souvenir packaging is a challenge: ‘Are you sure you want to buy this rubbish?’, which is typical of Shrigley’s art, in which everyday activities become satire.

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