Martin Creed has become known for hugely varied work, which is by turns uncompromising, entertaining, shocking and beautiful. A new online presentation at Hauser & Wirth opening on 8 August assembles selected paintings, drawings, sculptures, tapestry, video and music.
The digital presentation coincides with the unveiling of a new neon, ‘Work No. 3435: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT’, in the grounds of Braemar Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland on show for the duration of the summer period. Creed will also present a small-scale version of this multicoloured neon in an edition as part of the digital presentation.
The works featured in the online presentation include a selection of recent brightly coloured stack paintings, broccoli paintings, striped tapestries and toast sculptures. Series, sequences, variation and rhythm are often present in Creed’s work. Through very minimal interventions which treat all the elements equally, Creed allows the materials to speak for themselves. His stack paintings are achieved by using a set of flat brushes reducing in breadth from bottom to top to create pyramid shapes in multiple variations.
Creed makes no separation between his work and everyday life, between art galleries and the outside world. He is vegetarian and this can be seen in many of his works, including the bought at his local supermarket to create his broccoli paintings and the peanut butter toast sculptures, drawing on his time at a Buddhist monastery watching monks devour jars of peanut butter slathered on toast.
A photographic self-portrait of the back of Creed’s head entitled ‘Work No. 3026 ‘Self-portrait (2018) will also feature. Music is an important part of Creed’s practice and the online exhibition will include Creed’s song from 2012 ‘Work No. 1429: You’re The One For Me’ with its accompanying video.
Martin Creed’s new multicoloured neon will be installed in the grounds of Braemar Castle on 8 August. A larger work in blue neon that features the same text has been on view since 2012 on the facade of the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh.
The phrase ‘Everything is going to be alright’ has been used by the artist in a series of large-scale neon works since 1999 and draws on the comforting words Creed was offered by a friend: ‘No one can really tell you everything is going to be alright, but despite that, many times in my life I have been very comforted by people saying something like that to me.’ The resulting work has never resonated so poignantly as in the current situation.
Awarded the Turner Prize in 2001 for ‘Work 227: The lights going on and off’, Creed’s work takes many forms including films such as ‘Work No. 2811: What the fuck am I doing?’ (2017), ‘Work No. 2656: Understanding’ (2016), and his infamous ‘Work No. 610: Sick Film’ (2006), a film of people being sick, shot elegantly on 35mm film.
Music, talks and theatrical presentations are an essential element of Creed’s work. These include ‘Words And Music’, his improvised one-person show which ran at the Edinburgh Festival in 2017, and frequent concerts and recordings – such as the album’ Thoughts Lined Up’ (Telephone Records 2016) – and several orchestral pieces: ‘Work No. 1375’ (2012), commissioned by London Sinfonietta, and most recently ‘Work No. 3025’ (2018), for String Quartet, commissioned by David Roberts Art Foundation. The frequently exhibited balloon sculptures, filling half the air in a room, enjoyed by children and adults alike. The first from the series was ‘Work No. 200: Half the air in a given space’ (1998).
Creed’s music for the opening of the London Olympics, ‘Work No. 1197: All the Bells in a Country Rung as Quickly and Loudly as Possible for Three Minutes’ (2012), made with the participation of people country-wide on the morning of the Olympic opening ceremony (even Big Ben joined in).
The much-loved Scotsman Steps in Edinburgh, a public staircase joining two streets made with more than a hundred different types of marble, ‘Work No. 1059′ (2010). There are a number of other Creed marble floors, including at the Jumex Museum, Mexico City’ Work No. 1051′ (2013) and at Sketch restaurant in London, ‘Work No. 1347’ (2012).
His array of reassuring signs saying EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT, currently installed in Edinburgh (National Gallery of Scotland) and London (Tate Modern) UK, Christchurch (Christchurch Art Gallery) NZ, Detroit (Detroit Institute of Arts Museum) MI, Vancouver (Rennie Collection) BC, and also in Doha (Qatar Museums) QA. And his spectacular spinning monuments such as ‘Work No. 1357: MOTHERS’ (2012) (Fort Worth USA) and ‘Work No. 2630: UNDERSTANDING’ (2016) (New York USA), commissioned by Public Art Fund. ‘Work No. 850’ (2008), in which athletes sprinted through Tate Britain every minute as part of the Tate Britain Duveen’s Commission. ‘Work No. 409’, Creed’s accessible Singing Lift which goes ‘Ooh’ going up and ‘Aah’ coming down, on show in the UK at The Royal Festival Hall in London, Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh, and also at Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven NL. ‘Work No. 1020’ (2009), a dance work commissioned by Sadler’s Wells, which involves classical dancers
Top Photo: © Martin Creed, All Rights Reserved. DACS, London 2021
Hauser & Wirth Online – Live date: Saturday 8 August 2020