Moscow City Government
Moscow City Department of Culture
Russian Academy of Arts
Moscow Museum of Modern Art


Martin Creed
Date: November 4 — December 5, 2010
Venue: Moscow Museum of Modern Art at 25 Petrovka Street

Artist Talk on November 3, 5pm

Words don’t add up. Numbers add up!
Martin Creed, «If you’re lonely...»

British artist Martin Creed, laureate of the Turner Prize, the most prestigious UK award in contemporary art, has long been provoking the viewer with unusual, unconventional methods of creative expression.

His laconic and ironic art is always puzzling and makes us question what the author meant. ‘I feel that people may interpret my work as they like it. I don’t think I should explain anything to them,’ says the artist.

Martin Creed’s works are very direct and convincing; using very plain materials and even ready-made, he achieves stunning results, radically transforming the space or our notions of it. Martin Creed redefines familiar objects by positioning them in new «object situations» in «the system of objects». His palette of artistic media includes wooden beams, pieces of rumpled paper, tables and chairs, nails, light and sound, as well as music, ballerinas and professional runners. This gives birth to the variety of genres — sculptures and installations, graphic pieces, musical performances, ballet etc.

Instead of titles, each work receives a number. End-to-end numbering is, at the same time, the equals sign between various works (all of them are marked under the single principle) and the movement ahead. Sometimes Creed’s works treat movement literally, as in the famous piece No 850 where, every 30 seconds, professional athletes ran through the halls of Tate Gallery. However, usually it is the mode
of increase and gradation, when the artist plays with proportions of objects forming syntagmas, such as piled chairs, rows of cactuses, or an army of metronomes each beating their own rhythms.

Numbers and basic mathematic operations of addition and subtraction are the core of Creed’s creation. Using various materials, the artist combines them by adding or removing something, which results in surprisingly complex images. Thus, piece No 227 The Lights Going On and Off (2001) that brought him the Turner Prize is a void white space where lights, literally, go on and off quite suddenly. The opposition «light-darkness» is an example of a special «binary code» of Martin Creed’s art — the opposition of presence vs. absence, sound and silence, light and darkness. And the emphasis is put on the process as it is: the spectator has the impression of an artwork being born right before his eyes. This is why Creed is attracted to music that, in his opinion, is the best medium to express the birth of an artwork in real-time mode.

Martin Creed ranks among such superstars of international art scene as Damien Hirst, Rachel Whiteread and Wolfgang Tillmans. His first exhibition in Russia, hosted by the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, presents works from all periods of the artist’s creative career. Adapted for the new space, the works will be displayed in accordance with the inner structural logic inherent in Creed’s art — the numbers will increase as show proceeds, marking the most important periods. And the museum façade will feature a new work — neon Cyrillic letters forming an optimistic phrase «Всё будет хорошо», which alludes to the famous Work No. 200 Everything Is Going to Be Alright ,1998.

The Moscow Museum of Modern Art expresses sincere gratitude to Hauser&Wirth gallery for their invaluable help and support with the preparation and the realization of this project.

Please note that admission to the Artist Talk is prior accreditation only. Please confirm your participation by e-mailing to katerin@mmoma. ru.