Iconic artwork will light up Preston’s landmark Harris building as part of ARTIST ROOMS exhibition
Martin Creed’s 13-metre neon Work No. 203: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT (1999), one of his most recognisable works, will be temporarily installed on the front of the Grade I listed Harris Museum, Art Gallery& Library building overlooking Preston’s Market Square from the evening of Wednesday 25 January prior to the exhibition opening to the public on Friday 27 January.
Creed is one of the most influential and exciting artists today and was awarded the Turner Prize in 2001. He was also chosen to welcome the 2012 London Olympics with a UK-wide bell-ringing performance which encompassed Big Ben to bicycle bells.
The large-scale neon installation will be shown as part of an exhibition that draws from the ARTIST ROOMS collection of international modern and contemporary art, which is jointly owned by the National Galleries of Scotland and Tate on behalf of the public We have also loaned additional works from Tate, along with others rarely seen in the UK, courtesy of Hauser & Wirth. Running from 27 January to 3 June, the exhibition features an eclectic range of Creed’s sculpture, neon, painting, video and performance work, including several on display outside London for the first time.
Visitors can experience one of Creed’s best known installations, the Turner Prize-winning Work No. 227: The lights going on and off (2000), which involves the lights in an empty gallery being switched on and off at intervals, and is typical of the playful and post-minimalist nature of Creed’s work.
The Harris is also delighted to be the first gallery to show Work No. 960 (2008), an installation of 13 cactus plants, since the artist donated it to ARTIST ROOMS, together with another recent gift to the collection, Work No. 1340 (2012): a large-scale painting of diagonal stripes that is applied directly onto the gallery wall. Established in 2008 through The d’Offay Donation, the collection is shared with visitors to museums and galleries around the UK including Preston, and ARTIST ROOMS exhibitions and creative projects give young people the chance to enjoy and explore important work by major artists such as Martin Creed.
ARTIST ROOMS: Martin Creed will also include a multi-coloured neon piece that spells out ‘Coconuts’ installed in the museum rotunda and a series of portraits painted blind.; Creed created these by looking at his subject without looking down at his progress, opening the artwork up to chance and spontaneity. The rarely seen Work No. 1701 (2013), a film featuring individuals crossing a street in New York accompanied by Creed’s uplifting soundtrack, You Return' is also on show.
Creed uses materials as diverse as paper, music, air, light and text, and visitors’ experience is often key to engaging with and understanding his work. Creed has said his work is, “50% about what I make and 50% about what other people make of it.” and Work No. 203: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT (1999) characterises this desire to communicate and interact with the viewer.
Clarissa Corfe, curator of the exhibition said: “We are delighted to be launching Martin Creed’s solo exhibition for the first time in Preston and to be working in partnership with ARTIST ROOMS. He is one of the UK’s most important contemporary artists and his influence has been extensive. This exhibition will include an eclectic range of his works as well as some rarely seen works in the gallery spaces, around the museum. I really wanted to include the external neon work EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT. In the context of unprecedented political and social uncertainty, the work seems particularly timey, its deliberately inconclusive, communicating directly and personally with people, urging them to derive their own meaning.”
Councillor Peter Kelly, Executive Member for Culture & Leisure at Preston City Council, said, “The Harris has had huge success over many years in bringing outstanding contemporary art to Preston and we are especially pleased to be showing work by such a well-known and influential artist, thanks to the support of ARTIST ROOMS. It’s particularly exciting that this exhibition will include a work which is on display so publicly – on the outside of the building facing the square that is passed by many thousands of people each day. I hope many of those people will choose to come in and enjoy even more of what Creed has to offer.
Works in the exhibition are drawn from ARTIST ROOMS, Tate and private collections. ARTIST ROOMS was established through The d'Offay Donation in 2008, with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund and Scottish and British Governments. The current ARTIST ROOMS On Tour programme is a partnership with Ferens Art Gallery, supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Art Fund and by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.
Martin Creed, born in 1968, is one of the most important and exciting artists practising in the UK today. He won the Turner Prize in 2001 and his participative performance Work No. 1197: All the Bells united people across the country in a celebration to welcome London Olympics in 2012.
Creed’s work is characterised by his playful and subversive wit. This exhibition features a range of his sculpture, neon, painting and video engaging with ideas around rhythm and repetition. A musician as well as an artist, he has said ‘I’ve often consciously tried to make my work more like music … rhythm, whether musical or visual, is a comfort’.
He is renowned for his straightforward approach to making art and his clever economy of means, both in his use of non-traditional art materials and in the numerical titling of his work. Assigning a number to every artwork made relieves him of the tendency to make judgements based on size or materials, thereby giving all his works equal status.
Creed has commented that his artworks are an attempt to start a dialogue with people. This is perhaps best conveyed in one of his most emotive pieces installed on the front of the Harris building, neon sculpture Work No. 203: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT.
ARTIST ROOMS: Martin Creed is drawn from a collection of modern and contemporary art jointly owned by the National Galleries of Scotland and Tate on behalf of the public. The collection features over 1,600 works by 40 international artists, and the guiding principle is to show the work of each artist in dedicated solo exhibitions. It was established in 2008, when Anthony d’Offay donated 50 ‘ROOMS’ of art to the National Galleries of Scotland and Tate in one of the largest and most important gifts of art ever made to a museum in Britain.
Through ARTIST ROOMS On Tour, important works of art are shared with audiences – especially young people – across the UK. After 40 years of working with artists, Anthony explains: ‘I created ARTIST ROOMS so that – like me – every child in the UK would have the opportunity to see great art by the time they leave school’.
To date, more than 40 million people have visited ARTIST ROOMS exhibitions in their hometowns, and over 600,000 young people have had the chance to explore the work of major artists through imaginative learning projects. The current programme is a partnership between National Galleries of Scotland, Tate and Ferens Art Gallery, supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Art Fund and the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.
The Harris would like to thank Tate, Hauser & Wirth and private collections for their generous loans to this exhibition.
The ARTIST ROOMS collection was established through The d’Offay Donation in 2008 with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund, and the Scottish and British Governments