Over the years, Martin Creed has made measuring materials his medium. Take, for instance, an artwork like Work No.201, half the air in a given space, for which Creed calculated the amount of air in a room, filled balloons with exactly half that amount, and delivered them into the space.
This week, Creed opens his third solo exhibition at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise (GBE), and inaugurates the gallery’s newly expanded space. His site-specific installation remakes the entire gallery floor with a horizontal arrangement of more than 100 types of marble sourced through a foundry in Carrera, Italy. Creed says he likes to think of the confluence of variable stones and the elegant architectural intervention in the piece as “the whole world,” recalling the words he permanently installed in 2003 to inaugurate the GBE space when it relocated from 15th Street to 620 Greenwich Street. Work No 300: the whole world + the work = the whole world is a black painted text that wraps around the corner of the GBE building’s while brick façade as a manifesto declaring that artistic gesture is part of—rather than beyond—everyday life. LEFT: MARTIN CREED, LONDON, 1998. PHOTO BY MARY BARONE
Seven years later, GBE will inaugurate another space by expanding into the old LaFrieda Meat Purveyors building next door at 601 Washington. There Creed will premiere a new work, also explicit about the manner of its making: a film of an erection, a 35mm black-and-white film of the torso of a naked man in profile achieving an erection. It’s like a time-lapsed photographic study of manhood, accompanied by a new chromatic composition by Creed played by a live violinist from the Manhattan School of Music during the run of the exhibition. He will also show Work No.909, a black stage curtain calibrated to open and close at regular intervals. The three separate rigorously time-based artworks have not been sequenced and will take on natural rhythms. While the violinist moves up and down a 12-note scale, the curtains will flowingly open and close all the while the film of a man’s penis slowly rises up and down. States of flux never felt so tranquil.
WORK BY MARTIN CREED OPENS MAY 9, WITH A RECEPTION 4–6 PM. MARTIN CREED IN REHEARSAL WITH AKIKO KOBAYASHI, MAY 7, 2010. PHOTO BY MARY BARONE