Martin Creed @ Hauser & Wirth

Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed returns to London with a solo exhibition titled ‘Mothers’ at the new Hauser & Wirth gallery on Savile Row. The exhibition is spread out into two separate areas: a gigantic revolving neon sculpture is placed at the north gallery and numerous works of mixed media at the south gallery.

The first part of the exhibition demonstrates the strong presence of the word MOTHERS; a massive 12.5m. long revolving installation with all capital letters in neon light occupying the length and width of almost the entire space of the north gallery. The sign revolves fast just above the viewer’s head, and every time it approaches it makes you feel that it will crush you and tear you to pieces. The establishment of such a double context for the word “mothers” is profound. Creed successfully demonstrates how the gentle and modest act of mothering may also mean raw survival, growing up, separation – all part of everyday human life. He emphasises on how important but at the same time how difficult and complicated a mother-child relationship may be; it can control one’s life, it can sometimes destroy you.

The second part of the exhibition contains a large number of paintings, which were created in a simplistic and minimalistic manner; horizontal and vertical lines, crosses, pyramids, squares – all painted on small canvasses with thick brushes and very vivid colours. The paintings are joined with large photographs of the artist’s two dogs, and also accompanied by the his own single released for this exhibition (playing with the concept of thinking and not thinking) and a black and white close-up film of a woman’s nipple in reverse. Despite the playful, childlike but nevertheless meaningless character of the above works, it feels like there is only one piece in this exhibition and this is the enormous MOTHERS sculpture. It dominates not only the space that is placed in but also that of next door overshadowing every single other piece of work – maybe this was what exactly Creed intended to achieve.
|Kostas Prapoglou