The Galería Javier López first opened in London with Ongoing Project by Martin Creed (b. Wakefield, 1968), a series of experimental works in which Creed was given use of the entrance to the gallery. As part of this project some of Creed’s seminal works were first exhibited, such as Work No. 115: A doorstop fixed to a floor to let a door open only 45 degrees, 1995 and Work No. 123: Three metronomes beating time, one quickly, one slowly, and one neither quickly nor slowly, 1995. As part of the gallery’s participation in ARCO, we are presenting the British artist’s first solo show in Spain, outside of the two institutional events organised in 2011 by MARCO in Vigo and Sala Alcalá 31 in Madrid. To celebrate the reunion of artist and gallery after a period of twenty years, Creed is presenting a site-specific project that brings together new works made especially for the exhibition. Visitors will be introduced to the different styles and formats that Creed is currently pursuing and give an idea of an artist who is crucial to understanding certain trends in current art.
Creed respects things for the way they are, often engaging in very minimal interventions, in a way letting materials speak for themselves. He plays with things by means of accumulation, often creating forms of progression in size, height, tone, or simply presenting things ordered, classified or stacked. Since the end of the eighties, he has numbered his works and given them titles that are plain descriptions, with a deceptive simplicity that creates an immediate impact on the spectator. His approach means that he can use any form of expression, from painting and sculpture to video, and including installation (light or mural) or performance, since the key element for him is the process of creation – of “trying to live life better”. In the words of the curator Cliff Lauson, his work is “minimal and monumental, ephemeral and sculptural, rigorously logical and intuitively emotional.”
Words and sound play an essential role in Martin Creed’s works. He considers that his work as a musician and composer is inseparable from his work as a visual artist. Indeed, his visual works can be thought of very much like pieces of music, in which every interpretation is different and in which rhythm plays an important role. His focus on the commonplace means that what is apparently pointless is charged with a surprising emotional resonance, generating a wide variety of reactions through their direct communication with the viewer. Through their expression, the works invite us to imagine and celebrate a new and unexpected purpose for the things that surround us.
This exhibition includes examples of his intuitive portraits and landscapes, two traditional genres where Creed innovates and opens his exploratory working method up to moments of chance and spontaneity. For Creed, thoughts, feelings, people and things are all part of an interconnected world where nothing can be separated.
Martin Creed grew up in Glasgow and studied and the Slade School of Fine Art (1986–1990) in London, where he currently lives and works. Since 2001 he has divided his time between the British capital and the Italian island of Alicudi. That was the year that he won the Turner Prize for Work No. 227: The lights going on and off. He has exhibited extensively throughout the world, and recent projects have included What’s the point of it? at the Hayward Gallery in London. In 2013, he showed Work No. 202: Half the air in a given space at the National Gallery of Canada, and projects at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. In 2012 his work was shown in the Museo de Arte in Lima and was part of the section Artist Rooms at Tate Liverpool; he was artist in residence at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, where every month saw a new artwork in different spaces in the museum, including an installation of his largest neon sculpture to date in the museum’s plaza.