Until this point, it’s only ever been catalogues, a few displays in group exhibitions/biennales/etc and a ramshackle live performance at Goldsmiths. I think the man is pretty great, I just didn’t realise how much until this show.
Succinctly, it’s a show about ascendence (and descendence).
In as many ways you can possibly think of.
Yet because of the size and the purity of his investigations, it’s not cluttered or overstated. Which feels an odd thing to say about a show that repeatedly speaks about the same thing over and over and over again.
Because he comes at it from a variety of angles, it is clear and pure – crystalline.
A diamond says the same thing about carbon over and over again and is brilliant and dazzling, without being bloated or overstated.
Perhaps I am guilty of overstating.
Anyway, without giving too much of the show away, you can look forward to highs and lows, ups and downs in a gorgeous cascade of variety, including:
Towers of boxes (ascending space)
Up and down, up and down, again and again and again.
It sounds like a Doctor Seuss book in visual form.
Perhaps it’s exactly like that – filled with direct poetry, profound ideas and joy joy joy for the hell of it.
The wall of tape – which was sort of like a colour spectrum, but more linear and ridiculous. Nipples and arseholes/nautical installations and objects, which were lovely (although not quite as lovely as Sue Webster and Tim Noble when they do similar things);
And a special mention to The Balloon Room. Although I was in no state to really plunge into that fit of joy on that day, by all accounts it was pretty exciting, if not a bit claustrophobic (like the Gormley White Light room). It is an installation that finely balanced childlike and simple joy, with opportunity for deep anxiety. That takes a certain skill.
The great wall of broccoli prints did something similar, although rather than anxiety, it produced a clear fantasy about being Martin Creed’s Broccoli Assistant:
with the business card:
Martin Creed Studios
See? The exhibition takes you to some absurd places, without being obtusely, or disrespectfully ironic (everyone knows how much I hate irony as the core of an artwork). And because it is so generous, it also leaves plenty of room to dislike works without feeling left out or hating the whole show.
Like all good art shows should.
In fact, this added exterior perspective of the show was great and not something I had seen in many shows at the Hayward. It was a reflection of an exhibition which concerned itself with entirety.
From the outside ‘car park’, you could see the image of the two dogs on the side of the opposite building, and from exterior balcony, you looked towards the towers of The Shed and the Tate Modern – which had similar forms to those seen instide. (I did have a little wish that the tower of the Tate Modern had been painted in a colour spectrum by him, so it would tie all in nicely across that southern bank.)
Anyway, you should go and see the show. I’m going back for seconds soon.
*I always call him by his full name Martin Creed. Just Creed or just Martin seems weird to me.
Image: pinched from the martin creed site itself.