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Nothing will come of nothing
Yesterday I posted about "artist" Martin Creed, whose latest "work " involves unspecified people - not Creed himself - running through a gallery. Nice work if you can get it.
Readers may be puzzled as to how this constitutes art. Fear not - Creed has an explanation. From The Times:
Creed – Wakefield born (in 1968), Glasgow reared, Slade trained and now London based – is nothing if not confusing. He began as a painter but, undecided about what to depict, he stopped making objects and began creating “interventions”: things that made use of existing materials or situations rather than adding new stuff to the world. “I start from nothing and try to make something and at the same time try not to make it and get back to nothing again,” he explained in an interview with The Times. “It’s a great anxiety for me to create something extra for the world, because then I’ve got to live with it for the rest of my life.”
So there you have it. No new stuff.
Creed, whose works now sell for tens of thousands of pounds, came to attention by scrunching up a sheet of A4 paper and putting it on a plinth, by sticking a blob of Blu-Tack to a wall, by leaving a stack of tiles next to a lavatory, by blowing up balloons. His work is Minimalist in mood – not that he would use the word Minimalism. He dislikes labels. His works are titled by numbers.
Some think that Creed’s No 401– a recording of nine minutes of the artist blowing raspberries – is a pretty accurate indicator of what he adds to our contemporary culture. But curators at the Tate are clearly not of that opinion. A few years ago one of his neon works – the whole world + the work = the whole world – ran across the top of the Millbank façade. Logic doesn’t really come into it. Creed wants his work to operate on an emotional level. He wants to connect, to communicate. Angry responses become as much a part of his pieces as confusion or pleasure.
Even as Creed sets out to short-circuit our choice-saturated culture, he opens up endless options. Once you have nothing, anything can happen. The Tate spreads its creed.
And once you have anything, nothing can happen, presumably?
Shakespeare was better on the subject of nothing: "Nothing will come of nothing." And in the contemporary art world there is a whole lot of nothing going on.