Work No. 850 – Martin Creed – Tate Britain – Autumn 2008

Work No.850 - Francis bacon

Why does art need to be reserved for tormented geniuses, revealing hidden truths, displaying grand passion and exhibiting miraculous skills?

Obviously, it doesn’t really. 

Martin Creed’s suitcase of numbered works happily punctures all of those received ideas. Effervescent, jokey and nagging, they don’t demand lengthy attention, but do enough just to make the viewer notice something different is happening. Little packets of viral art that are simple and stupid enough to lodge themselves in the brain.

After a largely humourless and uninspiring visit to the 2008 Turner Prize exhibits, Martin Creed’s Work No. 850 was a breath of fresh air. Professional runners sprint down the Tate’s spacious Duveen gallery, with metronomic regularity. You hear the patter of feet first, then pick out a forceful figure picking out a route through the often unsuspecting visitors. A blur of lycra, coloured cotton and flesh then flashes past and disappears. The process repeats itself.

As well as running concurrently with the Turner Prize, Work No. 850 can be seen after the Bacon exhibition. I grabbed some images of the runners shooting past – their contorted elasticised shapes seemed familiar.

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Filed under Contemporary Art, Martin Creed

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