Having a laugh with Martin Creed

It catches the attention even before entering the door. Like a child, I found myself peeping in to get a glimpse of what I would have anyway seen in a few minutes. As I got my ticket I run into the first room: Oh Mother! Yes, a huge ‘Mother’ neon sign spinning around, now fast and then slow, just a few centimetres above my head and away from walls. I felt a bit intimidated by that work, like ones should feel in front of his own mother, as Martin Creed put it. The light, size, and noise of this sign thrashing the air was so cumbersome at first, that I did not notice another sound. And when I did I thought was coming for ‘Mother’ again. Instead were metronomes. Lots of tiny, noisy metronomes, following each no other time but their own.


Martin Creed, Hayward Gallery

Martin Creed, exhibition view, What’s the point of it?, Hayward Gallery, London

Martin Creed, Hayward Gallery

Martin Creed, Work No. 396, What’s the point of it?. Hayward Gallery, London


It was the beginning of a sensorial experience. Suddenly I turner around and noticed so much STUFF. It was everywhere. Colourful broccoli stamps over orderly rows covered a huge wall; on the other side black and white stripes run through another. Each piece in the show appeared to have a specific position, and a specific sense related to that. But the truth is that the sense is none. Martin creed stayed loyal to himself and created yet another masterpiece with great….mastery. Trying to find a brooding and deep meaning to whatever he does would be just a loss of time. Things are precisely and only what they appear to be. The sooner we accept it, the better it is. Not doing so, we would probably end up feeling a bit fooled around and wanting to go back to the ticket office claiming money back. On the contrary, being as bold as Creed is, the exhibition becomes simple yes, but enjoyable as rarely exhibition are.


Martin Creed, Hayward Gallery

Martin Creed, Work No. 1000, What’s the point of it?, Hayward Gallery, London

Martin Creed, Hayward Gallery

Martin Creed, Work No. 1588, What’s the point of it? Hayward Gallery, London


Happy to accept Martin’s challenge, I mingled around the show quite a lot, trying to notice all those particulars that make this exhibition worth seeing: eyes are stimulated by – or bombarded with – neon lights and bright colours all over. Same for the hearing, continuously picked on by blowing raspberries, sudden thuds and tedious piano notes. The amusing thing is how all objects have no sense at all, but seems to create one all together. Is like a correspondence of non sense.
I made my way to the upper galleries, and drifted amongst other bric-a-brac: some cactus, a penis – which contemporary exhibition nowadays does not comprehend one?- a Ford Focus, toilet rolls, tapes, other neon signs and so on. The amount of works is overwhelming. If the point of Creed was to irritate or provoke viewers, he nailed it. But as in life, we get to choose: either you laugh or you deal with your disappointment. I chose laughters. Especially after spending 25 minutes with the work N. 200. Presented for the first time in 2001, it consist of a variable sized room, filled with balloons, black, hot pink or – for the Hayward edition – white. If your friends assert that art is boring, get them down to Martin Creed and show them some fun.


Martin Creed, Hayward Gallery

Martin Creed, Work No. 200, What’s the point of it?, Hayward Gallery, London


Martin Creed, What’s the point of it?, Hayward Gallery, London, through 27th of April, 2014.

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by Caterina Berardi
in Focus on Europe

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