Martin Creed, Work No. 2209, Woman with a dog at a table (2015), Photo: Todd White © Martin Creed Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth London
Martin Creed is the subject of a solo exhibition of recent work at Hauser & Wirth Zurich this month, once again delving into his signature, multimedia-based interdisciplinary practice. Among the most controversial contemporary British artists, Creed came into global recognition with his 2001 Turner Prize winning installation Work No. 227: The lights going on and off, presenting, as its self-descriptive title suggests, a vacant room in which the lights go on and off in five second breaks. Like much of the artist’s work, the minimal gesture drew staunch criticism due to Creed’s endorsement of such a simple act in endless repetition.
No stranger to blending particularly mundane elements into his creations, Creed resumes his often blasé, yet spontaneous presence throughout a diverse checklist of materials and media that includes neon lighting, wood, paint, carpeting and wool as formative elements in this exhibition. Loose and subjective in its narrative, his works on view maneuver around quotidian and often diverse topics, foregoing any single visual conclusion or thesis, while challenging notions of the viewer’s interpretation of the work. This open-ended structure allows Creed’s broad repertoire, here including detritus like plastic bags and spare buttons, to gain autonomy and depth, preventing them from being limited by their primary functions or consumer roles.
Creed’s strong interest in the merger of mundane elements with the high-minded contexts of contemporary art has occasionally led him to blur borders between his art practice and daily life. In one work, he filled an entire gallery with balloons, or in another, commissioned athletes to run around the gallery. Here, Work No. 2209 Woman with dog at a table, for which Creed asked someone describe him a photograph as he painted what he heard; or Work No. 2325, which is a combination of nine differently colored neon letters spelling out the word “WHATEVER,” are only two of many works that strive to eliminate this distinction between art and everyday. This sense of linguistic interplay and downright playfulness runs through much of Creed’s work, and keeps the show at Hauser and Wirth anchored in a humorous, but tightly executed progression of works.
Martin Creed is on view at Hauser & Wirth Zurich through October 31, 2015.
— O.C. Yerebakan
Hauser & Wirth [Exhibition Page]