Martin Creed: What's the Point of it? – reviews

Jan 29, 2014

Creed's 'stylishly provocative' work takes over the Hayward Gallery in a multi-sensory survey show

What you need to know

Critics have called a major exhibition of the work of British artist Martin Creed What's the Point of It?, opening today at the Hayward Gallery, London, "a multi-sensory work of art in its own right". Creed is known for minimalistic artworks meditating on everyday life, such as his 2001 Turner prize-winning work The Lights going On and Off and the orchestrated ringing bells that marked the start of the 2012 Olympics. 

The first major survey of Creed's work takes over the entire Hayward Gallery including its external spaces. Spanning over two decades of his career, it features installations, paintings, video, sculpture, sound and neon art. Runs until 27 April.

What the critics like

This great new show at the Hayward doesn't so much chart Martin Creed's development as "provide us with a tour of his mind", his doubts, desires and convictions, says Adrian Searle in The Guardian. His art is marked by lightness and bravery, and provides moments of unalloyed pleasure.

Creed is "a showman with an instinct for the stylishly provocative gesture", says Mark Hudson in the Daily Telegraph. And if some of his work is minimal, this extensive Hayward show is startlingly maximal, not simply bringing together Creed's most significant works, but conceived as a multi-sensory work of art in its own right.

Creed has been given the run of the building, "opening up all the galleries so they are at their most imposing and making dramatic use of the balconies", says Ben Luke in the Evening Standard. He is a generous artist and genuinely wants to invite us into his world, to envelop us and provoke in the best sense of the word.

What they don't like

There's a cockiness and clever-cleverness to Creed's approach and "inevitably this starts to grate", says Mark Hudson in the Daily Telegraph. His is an art of smart ideas, but you leave the Hayward feeling there aren't quite enough of them to fill a gallery of this size.   

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