In Ostrich, 2009, a real taxidermied bird has lost his head but gained an absurd menace. This artwork invites us to think about life, death and our relationship with the animal world.
Ostrich is Shrigley’s largest work of taxidermy to date; it is, however, one of several headless specimens that the artist has created, including a headless cat and a headless monkey. For Shrigley the proposition is about an animal that ‘doesn’t have a head and doesn’t have a brain; it never had one and doesn’t need one’. Curator Katrina Schwarz has described this work as the starting point for the planning of the exhibition ‘Lose Your Mind’ and indeed Ostrich has been acquired for the British Council Collection. It is an appropriately absurd fate for Shrigley’s work: a flightless bird, by virtue of entering a touring collection, is now destined to fly the world!