Martin Creed is a British artist and musician. In 2001 he won the Turner Prize for the seemingly simplistic Work No. 227: The lights going on and off, an empty room in which the lights did indeed go on and off, at five second intervals. This eccentric artist lives and works in London and continues to push boundaries in his work.
Playful and peculiar, this first major survey of Creed’s work is currently on show at the Hayward Gallery and aims to encourage thought and discussion, exemplified by the title of exhibition, ‘What’s the Point of it?’ It is a random sequence of pieces, often art is disguised in a strange object, disturbing video or abstract action. There is a range of works and installations that will titillate and alarm all of your senses.
When you enter the gallery an impressive spinning neon banner reads ‘MOTHERS’, meanwhile metronomes tick constantly around the room. This neon sign seemed particularly appropriate when I visited (the day before Mothering Sunday), it is inspiring and yet intrusive. A man sits at a piano descending and then ascending playing each semi-tone, each note is given an equal amount of time. It is odd and leaves the visitor wondering ‘why?’
I have seen Creed’s revolting vomit video before, and this time round found it just as unsettling, in fact I couldn’t watch for more than a few seconds. Is this what the artist intends? Again we are left questioning, almost frustrated by the lack of understanding or explanation. Upstairs the pieces have a more pleasing aesthetic quality. Colour and shape is more evident and there are several entertaining pieces which are enjoyable to ponder and watch. Visitors are encouraged to enter a room full of white balloons, squeeze in amongst them and feel the static energy.
Despite an obvious lack of traditional artistic craft, this exhibition offers wit and wisdom and could not bore even the most complacent visitor. It is a colourful and varied display from one of London’s most thrilling artists.
Martin Creed continues until 5 May at the Hayward Gallery, more information and buy tickets here.