From David Shrigley’s Creation: The Transformation of 6,000 Copies of The Da Vinci Code into a Vision of 1984

Artist pulps From David Shrigley
From David Shrigley’s Creation: The Transformation of 6,000 Copies of The Da Vinci Code into a Vision of 1984

Creation: The Transformation of 6,000 Copies of The Da Vinci Code into a Vision of 1984


Artistic creations often have the power to challenge our perceptions and provoke thought. One such remarkable example of artistic transformation is Scottish artist David Shrigley’s project called “Creation.” In this project, Shrigley ingeniously repurposed 6,000 copies of Dan Brown’s bestseller, “The Da Vinci Code,” to create a captivating visual representation of George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece, “1984.” This fusion of literature and visual art serves as a powerful commentary on society, censorship, and control.

The Artist Behind the Project

David Shrigley, born in 1968, is a renowned British visual artist known for his distinctive and humorous style. He frequently combines dark humor with simplistic illustrations to convey profound messages. Shrigley is recognized for his ability to engage viewers through unexpected juxtapositions and thought-provoking concepts. With “Creation,” he takes his artistic prowess to a whole new level, captivating audiences with his ingenuity and creativity.

The Transformation of Literature

In “Creation,” Shrigley challenges the traditional notion of how books are perceived and consumed. By transforming 6,000 copies of “The Da Vinci Code,” a popular novel, into an entirely new visual representation, he calls into question the value we assign to books and the power they hold to shape our collective consciousness.

From Pulp Fiction to Artistic Expression

The repurposed copies of “The Da Vinci Code” were pulped, stripped of their original purpose as literature, and transformed into a visual representation of “1984.” By destroying the narrative and content of Dan Brown’s novel, Shrigley creates a symbolic act of destroying a popular work that thrived on conspiracy secrets, and replacing it with a depiction of Orwell’s dystopian world, emphasizing the dangers of totalitarianism and the suppression of individual thought.

Literature as a Medium for Social Commentary

The choice of “1984” for the visual representation is not accidental. Orwell’s iconic novel serves as a chilling reminder of the potential consequences of a surveillance state, restricted freedom of expression, and the manipulation of information. Shrigley’s decision to reinterpret this literature through pulping and reshaping is a powerful statement about the importance of preserving intellectual freedom and challenging oppressive systems.

The Artistic Process

Shrigley’s creative process involved meticulously reshaping each pulped book into an emblematic representation of “1984.” By folding, cutting, and arranging the paper, he brought life to Orwell’s dystopian vision. The resulting artwork is a haunting testament to the potential power of art to transcend its original medium and evoke emotional and cognitive responses from viewers.

Interpreting the Artwork

The visual artwork created from the pulped copies of “The Da Vinci Code” illustrates key themes and concepts explored in “1984.” Shrigley masterfully captures the bleak, oppressive atmosphere of Orwell’s novel through intricate paper sculptures and thought-provoking imagery.

The Symbolism of Imagery

Shrigley’s creation encompasses various symbols, evoking a sense of surveillance, control, and manipulation. The iconic image of a security camera, intricately sculpted from the pulped pages, represents the constant surveillance present in “1984” and serves as a reminder of the potential loss of privacy in our own society. The manipulation and censorship of information are represented through sculptures of redacted text and crossed-out words, highlighting how the state can control and restrict knowledge.

The Power of Collective Consciousness

Through the repurposing of 6,000 copies of “The Da Vinci Code,” Shrigley prompts viewers to consider the collective power of individuals and the impact that mass action can have on shaping society. The sheer number of books used in the artwork symbolizes the strength of a united community and the potential to challenge oppressive regimes.

The Impact and Legacy

“Creation” by David Shrigley has been exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide, captivating audiences with its thought-provoking concept and artistic brilliance. The project invites viewers to reflect on the power of literature, the significance of individual expression, and the dangers of unchecked authority.

Provoking Discussion and Dialogue

Art has always been a catalyst for meaningful conversations, and “Creation” successfully sparks dialogue around the interplay between literature, art, and societal norms. Shrigley’s transformative artwork challenges viewers to examine the role of creativity in shaping our perception of the world, the importance of free expression, and the potential consequences of authoritarian control.

A Legacy of Artistic Innovation

“Creation” secures David Shrigley’s reputation as an artist who fearlessly pushes boundaries and redefines artistic expression. Through this project, he demonstrates the transformative power of art and literature, inspiring future generations of artists to challenge the status quo and envision new ways of communicating complex ideas.


David Shrigley’s “Creation” is a testament to the fusion of literature and visual art, highlighting the power of artistic expression to provoke thought and incite change. Through the repurposing of 6,000 copies of “The Da Vinci Code” into a visual representation of “1984,” Shrigley challenges viewers to question the role of literature, the importance of intellectual freedom, and the potential consequences of a surveillance society. This groundbreaking project stands as a testament to Shrigley’s artistic brilliance and serves as a thought-provoking reminder of the social and political issues that continue to shape our world.[2]

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