I visited Martin Creed’s exhibition ‘Whats the point of it’ at the Hayward gallery on Southbank.
He is apparently recognised around the world for his minimilistic approach that strips away the unnecessary, but preserves an abundance of wit, humour and surprise. I was definitely surprised – surprised by how deflating and uninspiring his work was. Its almost like he had a finger up at the art world, which I can understand, but the way he did it is not something I found funny in the slightest.
‘Crossing all artistic media and including music, his art transforms everyday materials and actions into surprising meditations on existence and the invisible structures that shape our lives. This exhibition will be the first major survey of Martin Creed’s work, from its most minimal moments and extravagant room-sized installations.’
‘The writer Nicholson Baker once argued that most decent thoughts “have about the size of a wardrobe and the complexity of a wheelbarrow”. Creed’s tend, on the whole, to be more diminutive than that. They are balled-up pieces of A4 placed like little shrunken brains in their display cases; they are literally one-note musical compositions; they are framed doodles and scribbles that don’t aspire to anything; they are a thousand broccoli poster paint stamps, a superfood forest; they are doors opening and closing; they are the (Turner prize-winning!) lights going on and off in the gallery.’ Boring and irritating.
‘Any answer to the show’s rhetorical question is, I suppose, as ever, beside the point. The joke, as in the framed blank sheets of paper that say “fuck off” in small type, lies in the attempt to make sense. To those of us who have never found meaninglessness in particularly short supply outside the gallery, the interest in confronting it inside, a century on from Duchamp, probably has to depend on the quality of the joke. The opening room in which a great rotating beam topped in Freudian neon with the word Mothers, which will cut anyone over 6ft 6in down to size, and which is accompanied by dozens of nagging metronomes at different speeds, might raise a sort of smile, but beyond that and losing yourself in the balloons, split sides are not guaranteed.’ Guardian Review