Martin Creed – A bowdlerisation of all objects and 1001 activities? Stefan Szczelkun


 

Martin Creed represents a new relaxed freedom and inclusion in art. We can now all include our childhood drawings in our art shows (but only in certain controlled environments.)
The naive is separated from its messy base and put on pedestals. Everyday materials and artless productions are ‘good’… they are ‘OK’ we can feel alright about them now. But look carefully and many everyday challenges are excised. Even his golden clenched fist is a childhood piece presented in a closed vitrine.
Base functions from making raspberries to sick & shit, and having an erection, do have their feeling qualities. The middle classes can now get used to their aesthetic dimensions. Creed’s exhibition will train them to be children again. A mother at the door of the Sick&Shit projections complained to me how her three year old son loves it so. She wants to leave but he won’t let her.
Pretence: there is not any longer a need for class separation in aesthetics. Anything we do has some aesthetic quality, lets all finally admit it.
BUT Creed’s ordinary does not include any ordinary things that might lead to liberation or revolt. There is no grief or crying. No post traumatic stress disorders. No displaced peoples. No homelessness. etc. List all the things that are missing rather than the plethora that’s included. And the missing things all share one characteristic – they all challenge capitalism in its current bullish and blissfully omnipotent mood.
It is about making the mundane aesthetically normalised for the middle classes. A bowdlerisation of all objects and activity. A disarming exhibition because I relate too closely to much of it. I did that stuff too. I made that poor joke but without the panache and confidence that Creed brings to it.
Creed is like a court jester, he plays in the margins of what is possible and possibly naughty. He’s naughty and knowing but does so in the pockets of the super rich. They can invest heavily in his silly and obvious ideas but that doesn’t mean you and I can now go to the Arts Council for tens of thousands to build a room full of balloons or a high prestige show of all your old paintings because that has all be ticked off. Sorry mate, you’re too late. Its been done.
I know there is one thing he missed – spitting. Maybe I can do a very well supported spitting piece straight away. If you don’t have too many aspirations you can still quietly hawk phlegm into the gutter. Middle class people would prefer to choke than be caught spitting. Spitting can be my ticket to fame and good fortune. Arts Council are you listening? This is my application for dosh. This is how we do it nowadays, informally on the social media.
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