Sunday, October 5, 2008

np - Martin Creed at Margaret St. Buying It.

I don't buy it. Buy what?
Martin Creed talked about his current show at the Ikon, there are many things I like, but equally, as many I dislike. I have always enjoyed the idea of numbering works, I like the simple ideas and the use of materials akin to minimalism and conceptualism. Martin however described himself as an expressionist, 'all artists are expressionists.". Martin's talk was labored and awkward to watch, he stalled with long pauses and felt no need to talk about any particular aspect of his work. He started by telling us he enjoys traveling and then encouraged questions. I piped up about the curatorial decisions in putting on a show. Martin talked about the arrangement and impact of works next to other works, he then used a band and album analogy - I concealed a dig by asking if his crumpled ball was the one hit wonder, the encore that the crowd always goes for. In many ways this would be my first criticism, for me Creed's work worked in a world of YBA when gasps of Art angst, and the Turner Prize held sway. Creeds worked played up to the artist-led initiative of creating a new market by referencing the nerve of what constitutes art. The Tate love this rhetoric, they love this provocation of the masses and Creed is a sure fire agent-provocateur. As to the rest the motives behind the work, do I really care? Do I really care about the convulsion or the state of involuntary acts being a state where creativity is at it's purist? It's all very interesting but a little obvious or in the case of Bill Viola done before. Creeds strongest work for me is his collaborative works in response to a brief. Reacting to a space- The Ikon lift is case in point a brilliant work- position specific and activating. protrusions and the lights going on and off at the Tate, these works are far more engaging.
The talk was also a bit 'I'm a genius artist, take it or leave it.' 'make of it what you will' - He may have as well created some adstract expressionist paintings. Martin said he just makes the work, it is up to others to use it - i.e used as art? I piped up again 'so your shit film (a film of a woman defecating), you'd be happy for that to be shown as a training video for a tele-sales team? He replied yes, but I didn't buy it.

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