Martin Creed was born in 1968 in Wakefield, his family relocating to Glasgow, Scotland when he was three years old. He studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London from 1986 – 90. Creed lives and works in London.
Creed has exhibited widely both in Britain and internationally, with recent solo exhibitions including Park Avenue Armory, New York 2016; Hayward Gallery, London, 2014; Tate Britain, London, 2014; Museo de Arte de Lima, Lima, 2012; Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, 2010; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, 2009; Hiroshima City Museum of contemporary Art, Japan, 2009 and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK, 2008. Creed was the Turner Prize winner in 2001.
Martin Creed’s work crosses all artistic media and including music and performance and transforms everyday materials and actions into reflections on the invisible structures that shape our lives. His work is often concerned with the tension between something and nothing, with what exactly constitutes an artwork, and the value of that work in relation to the world around it. Creed’s artworks often involve making small changes in a person’s environment creating disruptions and causing us to question mundane things. With these light-hearted and frequently pointless seeming engagements the artist seeks to come to terms with the uncontrollable. Creed’s playful minimalism caused controversy when his work ‘the lights going on and off’, an empty room which is filled with light for five seconds and then plunged into darkness for five seconds, won the Turner Prize in 2001.
In Work No 123 three metronomes, the mechanical devices that musicians use to keep time, beat time on the gallery wall – one quickly, one slowly and one neither quickly nor slowly. Creed is also a musician and has expressed a desire to make his sculpture unfold in time to be more like music. Here Creed undermines the metronomes’ objective system of marking time with a consistent rhythm by having the three beat to different times. Like many of Creed’s works, Work No 123 resists being in on state or another: the metronome is beating neither quickly nor slowly, the lights aren’t either on or off, and uses minimal means to display ‘all the chaos of the world’.