Artist David Shrigley Pulps 6,000 Copies of The Da Vinci Code to Republish George Orwell’s 1984
In a unique artistic endeavor, Turner Prize-nominated artist David Shrigley has pulped 6,000 copies of Dan Brown’s best-selling novel, The Da Vinci Code, and republished them as George Orwell’s iconic dystopian novel, 1984. Inspired by a donation refusal from an Oxfam shop in Swansea, Shrigley embarked on a mission to acquire as many copies of The Da Vinci Code as possible and transform them into his own edition of 1984. This upcoming EcoReporter segment explores the artist’s motivation and the collaborative nature of this project.
Shrigley’s plan originated in 2017 when he learned that an Oxfam shop in Swansea had stopped accepting copies of The Da Vinci Code due to an overwhelming number of donations. Intrigued by the story, Shrigley set out to acquire as many copies of the book as he could. Initially targeting charity shops, he later discovered Wrap Distribution in Oxfordshire, a recycling facility that housed an almost unlimited number of unwanted Da Vinci Code copies. With their assistance, Shrigley obtained over 6,000 copies of the book.
Realizing that George Orwell’s works would enter the public domain in 2020, seventy years after the author’s death, Shrigley saw an opportunity to republish 1984 using The Da Vinci Code as a base. He emphasizes that this project is not literary criticism but a unique collaboration between himself, the Oxfam shop, and Phil, who originally put up a sign expressing a preference for vinyl records over more Da Vinci Code copies. Shrigley believes that 1984 is an important book for people to read and wanted to create a tangible representation of that significance.
Shrigley invested a substantial amount of money, described as a six-figure sum, in publishing his edition of 1984. Each of the 1,200 copies will be unique and cost £495. The books will come with a signed and numbered print by Shrigley himself. A portion of the profits will be donated to Oxfam, and the organization will also benefit from the proceeds of specially designed tote bags merchandise.
David Shrigley’s decision to pulp thousands of copies of The Da Vinci Code and republish them as 1984 showcases his artistic vision and commitment to promoting important literature. The unique collaboration between the artist, the Oxfam shop, and the recycling facility highlights the creative possibilities that can arise from unexpected circumstances. Shrigley’s edition of 1984 offers a fresh perspective on the enduring relevance of Orwell’s work and serves as a reminder of the power of literature to inspire and provoke thought.