Kappatos Athens Art Residency
Exhibition: Martin Creed | Like Water At A Buffet
Opening: 27 March 2015
Duration: 27 March – 16 May 205
Location: Kappatos Gallery, Athens
Project Coordination: Foteini Vergidou
Winner of the Turner Prize, the most important distinction for the visual arts in Britain, and recognized for his personal perception and conceptual approach to sculpture, painting, fashion and the different materials used in his work, Creed investigates the ways in which the mapping of one structure, originally composed in one medium (drawing, painting), is mapped onto another structure in another medium (dance) and vice versa.
The correlations between painting, sculpture and music reflect the movements and activity of the human body, in the way that the artist is directing and choreographs it during the creation of new paintings and costumes. Creed designs and creates costumes and hats from canvas and instructs three dancers as they create paintings with their feet. They place a paintbrush on their toes and create shapes on the canvas and then they represent the structure of their designs through bodily movements.
In the interim, Creed reverses the viewers’ approach to ballet as a high art medium, while he choreographs the movements of the performers by employing the structural composition of ballet (steps, positions and movements), however, as part of a minimalist kinetic process during which the dancers perform diverse techniques, including relying on their toes (en pointe) and other classic ballet positions such as the plie (plié).
The artist explores the meaning of movement as a transition from a potentiality to reality and the choreography focuses on the dialectic between the control and non – control of bodily movements, posture, alignment and kinetic freedom. The artist’s choreographic teaching is based on a minimalist pattern of movement such as: “One step forward, two steps back,” that gains signification from his lyrics: “One step forwards, Two steps backwards, Laugh once, Cry twice.”
Martin Creed’s own music, ballet, words and video projections, based on old Greek movies that the artist discovered by watching TV in Greece (Work No 2212 Athens Film includes the film Girls For Kissing, directed by Dalianidis, produced by Finos film, 1965) are performed live only during the exhibition opening (March 27th 10pm). The solo exhibition also presents portraits that include eminent personalities of Greece such as: Maria Callas (Work No. 2228), Melina Mercouri (Work No. 2280) Demis Roussos (Work No. 2273) and Alice Vouyiouklaki (Work No.2225). The depiction of these artists is based on a method that Creed has invented whereas he paints on canvas the portraits without having looked at the personalities, namely, he depicts the faces based on the oral description of the characteristics by his collaborator Rob Eagle.
Martin attempts to capture motion, materials and visuality through a “childlike attitude” and “simplicity” so as to pass the threshold from the “aesthetic” to the “existential.” In this passage and qualitative leap the artist employs contradiction, dialectics, humor and often irony as expressed in the new lyrics he wrote during his stay in the residency: ‘I want to lead a simple life, I do not want to do what I say, I want to lead a simple life, I do not want to slave to me’ and in his manifesto ‘I don’t know what I want to say, but, to try to say something, I think I want to try to think. I want to try to see what I think. I think trying is a big part of it, I think thinking is a big part of it, and I think wanting is a big part of it, but saying it is difficult, and I find saying trying and nearly always wanting. I want what I want to say to go without saying.’ (Statement, 2001)
Martin is not interested in the impressive or loud but in the details that go unnoticed such as a comment, a spontaneous exclamation, a fleeting look, an unsuspected gesture, a strong movement, a smile, a few drops of Water At A Buffet … Therefore his material are not composed of matter but of motion, attitudes, sounds and footprints. As he writes in the song that he performs live: ‘Everyone’ s trying to get what they want, Like water seeping through Parts of me come true, Like water seeping through
Martin Creed’s oeuvre stresses the importance of feelings and the need for finding shapes for feeling and communication, and as he proclaims in his current exhibition in the bright signal constructed by NEON light what he is looking for is UNDERSTANDING ! (Work No. 2216).