Image: Martin Creed, Work No. 123, 1995, Image courtesy the Artist and Hauser & Wirth © Martin Creed
Martin Creed was born in 1968 in Wakefield, England and grew up in Glasgow, Scotland. He studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London. He lived and worked in London until 2001, when he moved to Alicudi, Italy and in the same year was awarded the Turner Prize for Work No. 227: The lights going on and off (2000). Exemplary of his minimal, gestural style, the work consists of a room in which the lights flicker on and off every five seconds.
Martin Creed's practice is concerned with the difference between something and nothing. He questions what exactly constitutes an artwork and what the value of that work is in relation to the world around it. He writes texts and songs and conducts interviews and under his hands anything can be the material for an artwork, from Blu-Tack to cacti, dogs, ballet dancers and vomit. A commission for Tate Britain in London consisted of runners sprinting the length of the gallery every 30 seconds.
Everything Creed makes is titled objectively according to its catalogue number. Work No. 123 (1995) consists of three metronomes placed alongside each other, yet each is set at a differing speed, creating an aural clash that negates their time-keeping purpose. In Work No. 78 (1993) Creed transforms a useful object, Elastoplast tape, into a formal ‘something’: plasters have been applied one on top of the other into a small and perfectly formed stack.