b. 1968, United Kingdom

Martin Creed Biography

Martin Creed's playful and deceptively simple artwork explores the distinction between art and the ordinariness of life. Creed is a conceptualist who uses elements of minimalism in his practice. His multidisciplinary practice ranges between installation, performance, sound art, sculpture, painting, and drawing.

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Early Years

Creed was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire. From the age of three, he was raised in Glasgow. In 1986, the artist studied painting at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. Following his undergraduate degree, Creed became disenchanted with painting. He felt the medium restrained his artistic expression, and took a break from painting for several years.

Throughout the late 1990s, Creed began to develop an experimental practice. His work became heavily conceptual and offered simplicity. He developed engaging installations intended to draw visitors' attention to things that they might otherwise overlook.

Martin Creed Artworks

Martin Creed labels and identifies his artworks by numbers. By doing so, he gives each work equal status, irrespective of its material, shape, or size. Creed developed this distinctive approach to avoid decision-making and to explore the dilemma he faced of wanting to simultaneously make something and nothing.

The Ordinary and the Everyday

In Work No. 227: The lights going on and off (2000), Creed challenges traditional museum standards by manipulating the existing light fittings of the exhibition space. By seizing an empty room and switching the lights on for five seconds and then off for five seconds, Creed forms a new atmosphere that toys with viewers' experience and expectations. Viewers' impression of time and space is altered, and a focus on the physicality of the room comes into play.

Work No. 227: The lights going on and off (2000) is part of a wider series of work that aims to investigate the ordinary and the everyday. Creed's oeuvre praises the mundane by using materials like Blu-Tak, party balloons, and masking tape in his artwork.

Creed submitted Work No. 227: The lights going on and off for the Turner Prize at the Tate Gallery, London in 2001. He was awarded the prestigious prize and received £20,000 in prize money.

Public Commissions

Everything Is Going To Be Alright (1999) is a series of neon-light installations that is regarded as one of the artist's most important works. The neon installation displays the phrase 'Everything Is Going To Be Alright' in colourful lettering, 13 metres in length and half a metre in height.

Intended for display at a height across the façade of a building, Creed's installation functions as a tool for the artist to communicate with his audience. Creed is prompting a reaction from viewers who try to decode his statement's ambivalent meaning. The use of neon—a raw gas that cannot be seen—plays into Creed's conflicting desire to create something and nothing from his art.

The work was originally commissioned for the Clapton Portico in Hackney, London. It has since been displayed at a number of other settings around the world, in countries including Italy, America, Scotland, and New Zealand.

Awards and Accolades

In 2001, Creed was awarded the Turner Prize for his controversial work, Work No. 227: The lights going on and off (2000). In 2011, Creed participated in the Singapore Biennale and the Folkestone Triennial.

In 2012, Creed was commissioned to create Work No. 1197: All the bells in the country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes (2012) for the London 2012 Summer Olympics.

Creed's artwork is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh, and the Tate Gallery in London, among others.


Martin Creed has exhibited his work in galleries and institutions across the world.

Select solo exhibitions include Toast, Hauser & Wirth, London (2019); ARTIST ROOMS: Martin Creed, Tate Britain, London (2018); Martin Creed, Michael Lett Gallery, Auckland (2015); Art & Sound, Fondazione Prada, Venice (2014); Martin Creed, Gavin Brown and Hauser & Wirth, New York (2014); What's the Point of it?, Hayward Gallery, London (2014); and House of Art, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic (2012).

Select group exhibitions include Stronger Than Language, Hauser & Wirth, St. Moritz (2020); Ordinary/ Extra/ Ordinary, The Public Gallery, West Bromwich (2013); Belief & Understanding, Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York (2011); Silence: Listen to the show, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin (2007); Abstract Art Now: Floating Forms, Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen (2006); and Surprise, Surprise, Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London (2006).

Website and Instagram

Martin Creed's website can be found here, and his Instagram can be found here.

Phoebe Bradford | Ocula | 2021

Martin Creed Featured Artworks

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Work No. 756 by Martin Creed contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Martin Creed Work No. 756, 2006 Paper
42.6 x 28.5 x 2.5 cm
Michael Lett Contact Gallery
Work No. 1864 Jimmy by Martin Creed contemporary artwork works on paper, drawing
Martin Creed Work No. 1864 Jimmy, 2014 Pen and pencil on paper
21 x 29.7 cm
Michael Lett Contact Gallery
Work No. 1498 by Martin Creed contemporary artwork painting
Martin Creed Work No. 1498, 2013 Gouache on canvas
22 x 16 cm
Hauser & Wirth Enquire
Work No. 3113TREES FLOWERS SEAS PLEASE by Martin Creed contemporary artwork painting
Martin Creed Work No. 3113 TREES FLOWERS SEAS PLEASE, 2018 Acrylic, charcoal, graphite and oil on canvas
152.7 x 122 x 2 cm
Hauser & Wirth Enquire
Work No. 3009Tunnel on a bridge on a cloud by Martin Creed contemporary artwork mixed media
Martin Creed Work No. 3009 Tunnel on a bridge on a cloud, 2018 Ink on paper on canvas
30.5 x 25.4 cm
Hauser & Wirth Enquire
Work No. 3093Difficult Thoughts by Martin Creed contemporary artwork moving image
Martin Creed Work No. 3093 Difficult Thoughts, 2018 Digital film
Hauser & Wirth Enquire
Work No. 2971Bridges under water by Martin Creed contemporary artwork mixed media
Martin Creed Work No. 2971 Bridges under water, 2018 Ink and paper on canvas
40.6 x 50.8 cm
Hauser & Wirth Enquire
Work No. 2556 by Martin Creed contemporary artwork moving image
Martin Creed Work No. 2556, 2015 4 min 16 sec, edition of 3 + artist proof
Michael Lett Contact Gallery

Martin Creed Recent Exhibitions

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Martin Creed Represented By

Hauser & Wirth contemporary art gallery in Hong Kong Hauser & Wirth Gstaad, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Menorca, Monte Carlo, New York, Somerset, Southampton, St. Moritz, Zurich
Michael Lett contemporary art gallery in Auckland, New Zealand Michael Lett Auckland

Martin Creed In Ocula Magazine

Martin Creed In Related Press

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Martin Creed In Video & Audio

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