Release Date: Feb 3, 2014
Record label: Telephone Records
Music has always been an integral part of Turner Prize winner Martin Creed’s art. The work that entered the wider public conscience was Work No 1197 as part of London 2012’s Cultural Olympiad, where for three minutes the country was awash with a sea of bells. His 2010 show Down Over Up at the Edinburgh Festival had musical steps, which made the chore of climbing stairs a tuneful, pleasurable experience.
Perhaps the most immediately apparent quality of Mark McGuire’s first proper full-length since leaving Emeralds early last year is its disarming sincerity. It’s a risky move in an artistic climate such as this one, where the closest that most experimental artists come to self-revelation is in the manifestation of their particular aesthetics or in their abstraction of personal material, purging it of sentiment in the process. Much has been made of the so-called irony that supposedly reigns over us since the advent of postmodernism (and/or the internet).
When dealing with the musical endeavours of a Turner Prize-winning artist, it is difficult to separate the two - it is easy to fall into the trap of 'if I don't like this, it must be beyond my artistically under-nourished comprehension'. Martin Creed's latest release is in many ways as baffling a piece of work as his controversial Work No. 227: the lights going on and off - fragmented, unfinished and completely ludicrous - but, like this and the majority of his art, there is merit in its charm, naivety and originality.
A blob of blu-tack on the wall. A stack of boxes. A curtain opens and closes. A scrunched up ball of paper. “Everything Is Going To Be Alright”. A stack of chairs. A professional athlete runs through the corridors of a national art museum. The lights turn on and off again. A man plays guitar ….
Martin Creed recently commented that not working with sound and music as part of his artistic practice, "would be like I'm ignoring half of life. " As anyone familiar with his art will know, Creed has spent the past 30 odd years methodically and impishly exploring every detail of human existence: from Blu Tack to puking – from the flicker of an electric light to the gait of an Irish wolfhound. The fact that these visual, physical and exceedingly tactile things comprise so much of his work, and yet he considers them only half the world, goes something toward proving that Creed is as much a musician as he is anything else and that this album (his second proper) is as far from being a side project as you can get.