Monday, 30 July 2012

181. WORK No 1197 by MARTIN CREED

On the left is the man who got tens of thousands of us up early on July 27 so that at 8.12am precisely we would stand on street corners or in parks or in our own homes to ring any bell we could lay our hands on. Why? To signal the start of the London Olympics and welcome the 209 competing nations. We used hand bells and church bells and bicycle bells; triangles; castanets; drums; tambourines... For a solid 3 minutes we made as much noise as possible. Passing cars, including police vehicles, blared their horns, pedestrians waved. The crowd above, in Kennington, were near enough to hear Big Ben, the clock of the Palace of Westminster, break all the rules and chime more than 40 times during those precious minutes.

..It was all the idea of Martin Creed, the artist who caused such consternation when he won the Turner Prize in 2001 with The Lights Going On and Off - a empty room with the lights doing just that every few seconds. Perhaps it's his Quaker background which leads him to apply simple rules, sometimes only using paint brushes in a multi pack or making one mark a day with the same felt-tip pen until the surface is covered. He's one of a number of artists commissioned to design an Olympic poster, seen here.  This is Work No 1273, made from 5 single brush strokes derived from the Olympic colours. It represents an extended podium with steps offering places beyond first, second and third, paying tribute to  the excellence of all the competing Olympic sportswomen and sportsmen.



  1. I love his work which I included in my uni dissertation - thanks for this interesting post

    1. Thanks Rosie. I hope the success of the bells (2 million + ? taking part) means that more people will try to get the hang of his work.