If you can’t leave the house before triple checking your iron is off or break out in a sweat if your bookshelf isn’t alphabetised, then you’ll totally get Martin Creed’s new exhibition What’s the point of it? at the Hayward Gallery. He previously won the Turner prize for a piece called The lights going on and off, where the lights did exactly that in an empty room – so you can see what sort of man we are dealing with here.
It’s not creative, it’s compulsive – his work is an uncontrollable artistic expression that will use anything, and we mean anything, it can get its hands on. From the box your kettle came in to pink toilet rolls, nails and broccoli, Creed creates a colourful, order-obsessed world filled with amusing structures, scales and pyramids with a nod to Marcel Duchamp’s anti-art and ‘Readymades’.
You don’t walk in and worry about his mental health (too much) though; Creed’s style of found art is fun, like a child transforming a space through boredom and play. The sense of this is heightened by having to emerge from behind a sofa as you enter (as if resurfacing after a particularly frightening episode of Doctor Who) before cowering beneath the giant, neon ‘MOTHERS’ sign that swings inches above your head.
Further inside you’ll find 39 frantic metronomes set to different speeds; rows of cacti in height order; a vast wall of multi-coloured broccoli prints; eye-widening films of bodily functions; attendants playing relentless piano scales; precarious towers of, well, anything and everything; a Ford Focus that suddenly springs to horn-blasting life; and most fun and childlike of all, a room full of white balloons.
It’s quite something to fill the Hayward Gallery, outdoor terraces included, and the use of the space and the attention to detail is fantastic. There are wonderful little touches where you least expect them, with Creed pulling purely functional areas such as the lifts and the toilets into his exhibition, showing that art can be anywhere as well as anything.
And now to reorder our stationery drawers…
The exhibition is showing until 27 April.