Martin Creed will encompass the galleries’ venues uptown (Hauser & Wirth) and downtown (Gavin Brown’s enterprise), presenting new works as well as examples representing all three decades of the artist’s career to date. The exhibition will highlight Creed’s uncanny instinct for making a large impact through small interventions in the world around him, and his talent for exploiting existing objects and situations to elicit wonder. His deft use of the commonplace – colored masking tape, metronomes, potted plants and balloons are among the many at-hand materials of Creed’s oeuvre – is a strategy for expressing with great poignancy the limitations of art and the limitless magic of the universe beyond its reach. Creed has developed an artistic voice that is surprisingly expansive and emotional, calling to mind the English Romantic poets of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, who sought to capture the beauty in what William Wordsworth described as ‘the real language of men’. Creed’s 1996 ‘Work No. 143’, is a succinct mission statement that condenses his view: the whole world + the work = the whole world.
Martin Creed will be on view through 21 December. The exhibition coincides with the artist’s current solo exhibition at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, on view through 9 March 2014. During the run of the exhibition at Hauser & Wirth and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, Martin Creed will perform ‘Work. No. 1020 Ballet’ (2009) at The Kitchen, on 12, 13 and 14 December, together with his band and classically trained dancers. ‘Work No. 1020 Ballet’ is the first dance piece created by the artist and takes inspiration from Les Ballets Russes’ collaborations.
Two new series of portraits will be on display in ‘Martin Creed’. For the ‘Jumping Portraits’ series, the artist fixed a piece of cardstock high upon a wall. With his paintbrush in hand, he jumped to reach his canvas and paint his mark, repeating the action and continuing the cycle until a portrait was completed. The artist has also created a new series of ‘Blind Portraits’, created by looking only at his subject and never down at his own work in progress. Using such systems to rigorously abdicate from the need for aesthetic decision-making, Creed opens his work to moments of chance and spontaneity.
A curved wooden screen, ‘Work No. 1692’, is constructed from individual strips of timber from a vast array of different trees. Evocative of a formal room partition, this work functions as an object that provokes by decorating and concealing. Creed’s interest in visual patterning, explored through the diversity he finds in a single specific material, is also highlighted by ‘Work No. 1685’, which renders a tapestry from the naturally colored wool of different sheep. ‘Work No. 1696’ correlates with many of Creed’s projects involving steps, progressions, or increments, arising from Minimalist and Conceptual precepts. In the New York exhibition, a set of steps will be erected from stacked toilet paper rolls according to a pre-determined system. Similarly, the artist will also create new I-beam and brick sculptures, whose compositions are based upon mathematical ratios.
Even when experimenting with the classical sculpture material of bronze, Creed continues to draw upon quotidian experiences in the manifestation of his art. A gold-plated bronze fist is based upon a sculpture the artist originally made as a schoolboy, while a wilted rose serves as inspiration for a near identical copy, enlarged in bronze.
In Creed’s new walking film, the artist captures the movements of different individuals. His film will be projected as an installation in a tiled room created from grey acoustic foam panels and grey carpet tiles, a variation on Creed’s tiled series typified by the tiled floor he designed for the London restaurant Sketch. A new series of paintings will also be on display: Creed begins by painting a single brushstroke, each time doubling its width, until his last stroke can be painted with the use of a paint roller. Rendered on canvas, wood, and aluminum, the works on view in New York measure as some of the artist’s largest paintings to date.
Outside the gallery of Gavin Brown, Creed will display a parked car with doors shut and engine off. At pre-determined moments the vehicle will come to life and every one of its mechanical processes will start simultaneously. Automatic doors and windows will open; the engine will start; air conditioning will blast as the horn blares; headlights and windshield wipers will flash on. Calling to mind the artist’s famous ‘Work No. 227 Lights going on and off’, presented at the Tate in London in 2001, this new piece continues Creed’s practice of taking gentle but surgically precise liberties with public space to ignite the audience’s imagination.
About the Artist
Martin Creed was born in Wakefield, England in 1958 and grew up in Glasgow. He lives and works in London and Alicudi, Italy. He has exhibited extensively worldwide, and in 2001 he won the Turner Price for ‘The lights going on and off’. Recent major solo exhibitions and projects include ‘Work No. 202’, National Gallery of Canada (2012); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago IL (2012); ‘Work No. 1059’, The Scotsman Steps, Edinburgh (2011); Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas TX (2011); ‘Things’, The Common Guild, Glasgow (2010); ‘Work No. 409’, Royal Festival Hall Elevator, London (2010); ‘Work No. 245’, Centre Pompidou-Metz (2009); Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan (2009); and the Duveen Commission, Tate Britain, London (2008). From 5 to 27 November 2013, there will be a solo exhibition of Creed’s work at The Warhol, Pittsburgh PA.