Martin Creed, Hauser Wirth

ColinHumphrey:, culture, exhibition, london, hauser and wirth, saville row, installation, martin creed, mothers 2011ColinHumphrey:, culture, exhibition, london, hauser and wirth, saville row, installation, martin creed, mothers 2011

Hauser and Wirth, 21 January – 5 March 2011, London, UK

Mothers, 21 January – 5 March 2011

On view: ‘Work no. 1092, 2011’ – an oversized rotating neon sign of the word ‘MOTHERS’. The diversity of work on show is not limited to kinetic art it also features projected video – ‘Work no. 1177, 2011’, direct-to-wall paintings, paintings on canvas, three photos of an Irish Wolfhound, a Chihuahua and more!

Painting: Series and Process

In art the one is not radically estranged from the other. The model commonalities between them are the application of paint, subject, intent, scale, form and colour. There are three sub processes identified in Creed’s paintings on display, that of repetition, pattern and basic perspectival logic. The intentionally unfinished work makes clear this association between paint and the act of painting. The iconography used by the artist features blocks, rectangles, crosses, closed, and open paintings. The closed painting has no obvious background and conversely the open paintings have a clear separation between fore and background.

Sculpture: Semiotics and Codification

Upon viewing ‘Work no. 1092, 2011’, there exists a semantic literalness whereby the signification seems to be no less than the sign, this must however be incorporated into a re-reading of the piece via the relationship between scale, movement and energy harmonised together. The title seems maternal and self referential yet there seems little of the maternal/feminine about it. The piece appears more masculine, though upon introspection there is very maternal/female cavity within it, the piece itself is bound to a rotation/routine which can be described as ‘cycle’, a subtle refrain to womanhood, for example the menstrual cycle is governed by a certain involuntary ruotine as is the gestation process. Interesting to observe was an audible ebb and flow emitted as a by product of the movement.

Video: Symbol of Woman

The video ‘Work no. 1177’ acts as counterpart to ‘Work no. 1092’, depicted is a woman in flesh and body. This work has some motion though it feels more static struggling to get beyond what it is. But to say this piece is completely immanent denies it the positive qualities which it certainly has. The work is monochrome, shot on 35mm feeling almost like an early work by the fluxus group. The bare breast signifies life, sustenance and the maternal/feminine, and also pleasure. However there is a certain ambiguity to the posture and the ‘being giveness’ as the breast is itself covered by the hand a gesture which witholds the subject’s modesty and conceals the breast whilst obstructing the gaze subverting the agency.

Application & Colour

The colour throughout the exhibition varies between each piece. There are four modalities which are clear and can be broadly grouped into that of compound colour, primary colour, monochrome and single colour applications. These are at times combined to produce a panoply of effects of ‘hot’ and ‘cool’ these resonated well in conjunction with the strategies of layering and repetition as seen throught the exhibition. The abstract visual vocabulary is terse and does not elaborate much and for this it is refreshing. The wall paintings, ‘Works no.’s 1173, 1110 and 1113, 2011’ use emulsion rather than acrylic used throughout the show. The dialogue between wall painting and hung paintings exist to visually echo and revalidate each other.


A dynamic assemblage of artwork featuring abstract paintwork, kinetic sculpture, photography and video art all recent work from Martin Creed at Hauser Wirth.

written by: Colin Humphrey

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