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.

Tropicália. Caetano Veloso (1968)


Above my head the planes
Under my feet the trucks
My nose pointing towards
The plateaus
I organize a movement
I orient the carnival
I inaugurate a monument
In the country’s Central Plateau
Long live the Bossa — ssa — ssa
Long live huts from straw — traw — traw

The monument is made from streamers & silver
The green eyes of the mulatta
The hair conceals behind the green forest
The moonlight in the sertão
The monument has no door
The entrance is through an old, narrow, crooked street
A kneeling, smiling, ugly dead child
Stretches out its hand
Long live the green land — land — land
Long live the multatta — ta — ta — ta — ta

In the inner patio there’s a swimming pool
with blue water from Amaralina
Coconut tree, Northeastern breeze and talk and lights
In the right hand a rose bush
Legitimizing an eternal spring
In the gardens vultures stroll all afternoon
Amidst sunflowers
Long live Maria — ia — ia
Long live Bahia — ia — ia — ia — ia

On the left wrist bang-bang
Little blood runs in his veins
But his heart swings to a samba and tambourine
Playing dissonant chords
From five thousand loudspeakers
Ladies and gents, he watches me with big eyes
Long live Iracema — ma — ma
Long live Ipanema — ma — ma — ma — ma

Sunday it’s “Fino da Bossa”
Monday it’s the dumps
Tuesday he goes to the backland. But
The monument’s pretty modern
He said nothing about the tailoring of my suit
To hell with everything else
My dear
Long live “A Banda” — da — da
Long live Carmen Miranda — da — da — da — da

—translated, from the Portuguese, by Odile Cisneros

Fall of Troy. Miroslav Holub


From burning Troy we took away
these rags of ours,
teeth in a glass
and a tattooed grandpa.

A bit further on the ancient quail
were nesting again
and silver pike were milting
in the quiet sky.

Nailed to the ground by a lance
a soldier
flapped a hand at us.
The wormwood spoke no word
nor did the gentian.

Just like home, said grandpa.

The bleating of lambs
arched a roof
over our heads.
The land flowed with manna.
From the time of the primary rocks
nothing had happened in fact.

And like a fingernail
grown into the flesh
our truth
was always with us.

We slept embraced,
rags wrapped about us,
teeth in a glass.
Just like home, said grandpa.

Nothing had happened in fact.
Only we understood
that Troy
perhaps
had really
fallen.

whatsup. Zgia


we can’t beat
keep
the beat
the fizzyness

be m.a.l.
borough small
puff any
magic dragon

button down
what‘s yours
trifle up
what‘s in the
mine

the beat
bell the metro
nome of
life

eat and drink
through the layers of
x = stance

stay where
flies used
to fly
dongdonging against a
window

pain