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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Martin Creed (b. 1968)

Artist, musician, composer and filmmaker. Born in Wakefield, the son of the artist blacksmith John Creed, he grew up in Milton of Campsie and Lenzie, near Glasgow, and was educated at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, graduating in 1990. As with many of his contemporaries among the Young British Artists (YBAs) of the 1990s, his working method owes much to the historical example of Marcel Duchamp, often using found and natural objects to extend the scope of sculpture, puncture the pretensions of traditional art, and dissolve boundaries between the artwork and its audience. Since the formation of his band Owada in 1994, music has been a central part of his practice, providing both a parallel to his work as a visual artist and an analogue of the process of time-bound performance that underpins many of his projects. Like a composer, he also identifies his works by assigning them numbers, though these are frequently supplemented by descriptive subtitles, as with Work No. 227: the lights going on and off, for which he was awarded the Turner Prize in 2001. Other works place greater emphasis on audience participation, such as Works No. 200-20: Half the Air in a Given Space (1998), in which visitors were invited to immerse themselves in a room containing inflated balloons, and Work No. 1197: All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes, which was commissioned to mark the start of the London Olympics in 2012. Martin Creed currently divides his time between his studio in London and his home on the Aeolian island of Alicudi, near Sicily.

Bibliography: Martin Creed website; R. McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Edinburgh (2 vols), Liverpool, 2018, vol 1, pp. 321–24, vol 2, pp. 7, 398.

Ray McKenzie 2018