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Work No. 247 Half the air in a given space, 2000
Work No. 247 Half the air in a given space, 2000
Work No. 247 Half the air in a given space, 2000
Work No. 247 Half the air in a given space, 2000
Work No. 247 Half the air in a given space, 2000
Work No. 247 Half the air in a given space, 2000
Work No. 247 Half the air in a given space, 2000
Work No. 247 Half the air in a given space, 2000
Work No. 247 Half the air in a given space, 2000
Work No. 247 Half the air in a given space, 2000
Work No. 247 Half the air in a given space, 2000
Work No. 189 Thirty-nine metronomes beating time, one at every speed

Martin Creed. Obras


6 May 2011 - 2 October 2011
exhibition rooms on the ground floor and first floor (B1 gallery)
Tuesday to Saturday (including bank holidays), from 11:00 to 21:00 Sundays, from 11:00 to 15:00
MARCO, Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo
Carolina Grau


British artist Martin Creed (Wakefield, United Kingdom, 1968) presents a project that responds to the format of new productions made specifically for the MARCO. Regarded as one of the more acclaimed artists of his generation, and winner of the Turner Prize in 2001, he combines his practice as an artist with that of his band formed in 1994.


The entire ground floor is taken up with just one work, which simultaneously inundates and empties the exhibition space. Work No. 247 Half the air in a given space (2000) consists of materialising half the air contained in a space by using balloons, and in so doing completely modifying the perception of the place. The exhibition is completed with a series of works related to music and sound in one of the galleries on the first floor.

Performance ‘Martin Creed and his band’

‘Martin Creed and his band’ will give a performance on Friday 6th May at 9pm, in the Conference Room, as part of the inaugural programme.


This exhibition has been produced with the invaluable assistance of a group of members of the MARCO Friends´Association (AAM).


Educational Programme

From May 11 to June 3 2011

Visits and workshops for school children and families based on the MARTIN CREED exhibition


The staff members in the rooms are at visitors’ disposal for any question they may have or information they may need about the exhibition, as well as for the usual guided tours:

  • Every day at 6pm
  • Customised visits for groups by appointment. Please call 986 113900


Visitors can feel free to walk among the balloons in all the spaces on the ground floor, as long as they follow the safety rules and instructions available at the museum’s ticket office and at the entrance to the galleries on the ground floor.



With the exhibition ‘MARTIN CREED. Obras’, curated by Carolina Grau, the MARCO pursues its line of home-produced individual projects conceived specifically for the Museum’s galleries. This display is the first solo presentation of this artist’s work in Spain, and is fruit of a collaboration between two institutions: the MARCO of Vigo — ‘MARTIN CREED. Obras’ (May – September 2011) — and the Sala Alcalá 31 of the Comunidad de Madrid — ‘MARTIN CREED. Cosas’ (December 2011 – February 2012).

Regarded as one of the more acclaimed artists of his generation, and winner of the Turner Prize in 2001, Martin Creed combines his practice as an artist with that of his band formed in 1994. Creed’s ongoing investigation into the basic nature of things has led him to eliminate the accessory in search of the essential and create a world of unexpected classifications, categories and exceptions using everyday objects, words and sounds.

In his proposal for the MARCO, Creed takes his investigation into perception and physical experience a step further by playing with our relations with our surroundings. The entire ground floor is taken up with just one work, which simultaneously inundates and empties the exhibition space. Work No. 247 Half the air in a given space, 2000, consists of materialising half the air contained in a space by means of an ordinary object. Balloons, festive playthings normally associated with childhood, are seen here as containers of air that render tangible and visible something which is ephemeral and immaterial.

First created in 1998, this piece acquires in the galleries of the MARCO a completely new dimension thanks to the monumentality and size of the rooms: half the space – some 6.863 m3 of air in three courtyards, three galleries, and the central well – is flooded by a sea of light blue balloons, which alter entirely our physical experience and our perception of the space. To appreciate the work, the visitor must literally immerse himself in it and wade through the balloons, triggering a chain of contradictory sensations spanning pleasure and euphoria, wellbeing and anguish, playfulness and disorientedness, where the former is sometimes tinged with a slight sense of menace. As we advance through the space, we come to form part of the piece, bodying forth the artist’s words: ‘You are inside the work instead of looking at it from the outside’ [Martin Creed, Art World Issue 5, June-July 2008, p. 37].

The exhibition at the MARCO includes, in one of the galleries on the first floor, an installation related to music and sound: Work No. 189 Thirty-nine metronomes beating time, one at every speed, 1998, and scores of music, reflecting the diversity of Creed’s work and his practice as composer, musician and lyricist, which he considers as inseparable from his work as a visual artist.


Martin Creed

Martin Creed was born in Wakefield, England in 1968 and grew up in Glasgow. He lives and works in London and Alicudi, Italy. He has exhibited extensively worldwide, and in 2001 won the Turner Prize for ‘The lights going on and off’. Recent solo exhibitions and projects include ‘Mothers’, Hauser & Wirth London, Savile Row (2011); ‘Down Over Up’, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2010); ‘Ballet Work No. 1020’, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh (2010); ‘Things’, The Common Guild, Glasgow (2010); ‘Work No. 409’, Royal Festival Hall, London (2010); Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima (2009); Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2008) and the Duveen Commission,Tate Britain, London (2008).

Words and music have always been an integral part of Creed’s practice. He has often combined visual art, talking, choreography and music with his band.

‘Martin Creed and his band’

Martin Creed - Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Lead Vocals
Keiko Owada - Bass Guitar, Vocals
Genevieve Murphy - Synthesizer, Vocals
Ben Kane - Drums
Rob Eagle - Video/Slideshow, Vocals

Creed formed a band, Owada, in 1994. In 1997 they released their first CD, Nothing, on David Cunningham's Piano label. In 2000 he published a recording of his songs under his own name with the arts publisher Art Metropole, in Toronto. In 2010 he provided the cover art for a Futuristic Retro Champions single, while supporting its launch with an appearance with his own band. In 2009 he wrote and choreographed ‘Ballet’, a show of music, dance and talk, produced by Sadler's Wells, London. In 2010 ‘Ballet’ was performed 8 days at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh as part of the Fringe. It comes to the main theatre at Sadler's Wells, London, on June 21st, 2011.

Martin Creed

Born in Wakefield, England, 1968

Slade School of Fine Art, London, England, 1986-1990
Lives and works in London, England 

Solo Exhibitions (selection 2000-2011)


MARCO, Museo de Arte Contemporánea, Vigo, Spain
Sala Alcalá 31, Madrid, Spain
Johnen Galerie Berlin, Germany
Hauser & Wirth, ‘Mothers’, London, England 


Moscow Museum of Modern Art, ‘Numbers’, Moscow, Russia
Southbank Centre, ‘Martin Creed: Work No. 409’ (Part of the Chorus Festival), London, England
Fruitmarket Gallery, ‘Down Over Up’, Edinburgh, Scotland
Traverse Theatre, ‘Ballet: Work No. 1020’ (Part of Edinburgh Festival), Edinburgh, Scotland 


Centre Pompidou-Metz, ‘Work No. 245’, Metz, France
Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima, Japan (Travelling Exhibition)
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, ‘Work No. 975’, Edinburgh, Scotland


Tate Britain, ‘Duveens Commission’, London, England
Gavin Brown's enterprise, New York NY 


Hessel Museum of Art and CCS Galleries, Bard College, ‘Feelings’, Annandale-on-Hudson NY
508 West 25th Street, ‘Small Things’, New York NY
Hauser & Wirth Coppermill, London, England
Abrons Art Center, ‘Martin Creed's Variety Show’, New York NY 


Curzon Mayfair, ‘Sick Film’, London, England
Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, ‘I like things’, Milan, Italy
Johnen Galerie, ‘Work No. 547’, Berlin, Germany
Haubrokshows, ‘The lights off’, Berlin, Germany
Tate Modern, ‘Martin Creed's Variety Show’, London, England 


Comptoir de Nylon, ‘The lights going on and off’, Brussels, Belgium
Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands
ACCA – Australian Center for Contemporary Art, ‘The lights off’, Melbourne, Australia 


Centre for Contemporary Art, Udjadowski Castle, ‘the whole world + the work = the whole world’, Warsaw, Poland
Centre for Contemporary Art, 'TWG@CCA', Kitakyushu, Japan 


Kunsthalle Bern, Berne, Switzerland
Frac Languedoc-Roussillon, ‘Beaucoup de bruit pour rien’ (with Marylene Negro), Montpellier, France ncia
Gavin Brown's enterprise, ‘Work No. 300’, New York NY
The British School, ‘Work No. 289’, Rome, Italy 


Alberto Peola Arte Contemporanea, ‘A large piece of furniture partially obstructing a door’, Turin, Italy
The Wrong Gallery, New York NY 


Kunst-Station Sankt Peters Kirche, ‘Work No. 252’, Cologne, Germany
Arte Continua, ‘Arte all' Arte’, San Gimignano, Italy
Tate Britain, ‘Art Now: Martin Creed’, London, England
Southampton City Art Gallery, ‘MARTINCREEDWORKS’, Southampton, England (Travelling Exhibition)
Times Square / 42nd Street, ‘Work No. 225’, New York NY
Tate Britain, ‘Work No. 232: the whole world + the work = the whole world’, London, England 

Group Exhibitions (selection 2000-2011)


54th Biennale di Venezia, ‘ILLUMInazione’, Venice, Italy (June 2011)
Museum Admont, ‘Sammler- LEIDENSCHAFT’, Brussels
Folkestone Triennial, ‘A million miles from home’, Kent, England
Singapore Biennale 2011 ‘Open House’, Singapore
Tate St. Ives, ‘Summer Collection Display’, Cornwall, England 


Minsheng Art Museum, ‘Other Rooms’, Shanghai, China
Palais de Tokyo, ‘FRESH HELL – Carte Blanche à Adam McEwen’, Paris, France
Queensland Art Gallery, ‘21st Century: Art in the First Decade’, Queensland, Australia
K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, ‘‘Silent Revolution’ – Eine neue Sammlungspräsentation’’, Dusseldorf, Germany
La Casa Encendida, ‘on&on’, Madrid, Spain 


MOMA - Museum of Modern Art, ‘Paper: Pressed, Stained, Slashed, Folded’, New York NY
MUHKA - Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, ‘All That Is Solid Melts Into Air’, Antwerp, Belgium 


SUN Contemporary, ‘Platform Seoul’, Seoul, Korea
Kunsthalle Bern, ‘No leftovers’, Berne, Switzerland
Galeria Luisa Strina, ‘This is Not A Void’, São Paulo, Brazil 


Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, ‘The Future of Futurism’, Bergamo, Italy
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, ‘Words Fail Me’, Detroit MI
Institute of Contemporary Art, ‘Ensemble’, Philadelphia PA
Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, ‘Silence: Listen to the Show’, Turin, Italy
Villa Arson, ‘Half square, half crazy’, Nice, France
Kunsthalle Bern, ‘Critical Mass - Kritische Masse’, Berne, Switzerland
MACRO - Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Roma, Rome, Italy
III Bienal de Jafre, Jafre del Ter, Spain 


P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center and MoMA – Museum of Modern Art, ‘Into Me / Out of Me’, Long Island, NY (Travelling Exhibition)
KW Institute for Contemporary Art, ‘Into Me/Out of Me’, Berlin, Germany (Travelling Exhibition)
4th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art, ‘Of Mice and Men’, Berlin, Germany
Centre Georges Pompidou, ‘Big Bang: Destruction and Creation in 20th Century Art’, Paris, France
Secession, ‘I (Ich) Performative Ontology’, Vienna, Austria
MARCO, Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo, ‘The Invisible Show. Audio Works from the 20th Century’, Vigo, Spain / Centro José Guerrero, Granada, Spain
Schirn Kunsthalle, ‘Nichts’, Frankfurt, Germany 


K20 Kunstsammlung, ‘Ambiance – Des Deux Côtes du Rhin’, Dusseldorf, Germany
Casino Luxembourg – Forum d'Art Contemporain, ‘L'humanité mise à nu et l'art en frac. même’, Luxembourg
CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, ‘General Ideas: Rethinking Conceptual Art 1987-2005’, San Francisco CA
Biennale d'Art Contemporain de Lyon, ‘Expérience de la Durée’, Lyon, France
Printemps de Septembre, Toulouse, France 


ICA, ‘Artists' Favourites’ London, England
Serpentine Gallery, ‘State of Play’, London, England
Palais de Tokyo, ‘Live’, Paris, France 


Kunstverein Frankfurt, ‘Adorno’, Frankfurt, Germany
Kunstverein Salzburg, ‘Soundsystem’, Salzburg, Austria
Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, ‘Shine’, Rotterdam, Netherlands 


CCAC – California College of the Arts, ‘Rock my World: Recent Art and the Memory of Rock'n'Roll’, San Francisco CA
Charlottenborg, ‘My Head is on Fire but my Heart is Full of Love’, Copenhagen, Denmark
MOMA - Museum of Modern Art, ‘Tempo’, New York NY


Tate Britain, ‘Turner Prize 2001’, London, England
Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art, ‘Rooseum Provisorium’, Malmo, Sweden
Museum of Contemporary Art, 'Art/Music: Rock, Pop, Techno', Sydney, Australia 


Whitechapel Art Gallery, ‘Protest and Survive’, London, England
Fondazione Pistoletto, ‘A casa di...’, Biella, Italy
Tate Britain, ‘Intelligence: New British Art 2000’, London, England
Contemporary Art Centre, ‘Proper’, Vilnius, Lithuania 

Awards and Grants


Turner Prize

+ info

Links interviews

Martin Creed & his Band

Curatorial text

“Work No. 247 Half the air in a given space comes from the same work process as Work No. 227 The Lights Going On and Off, the work with which Martin Creed won the Turner Prize in 2001, in which the lights of a given space were switched on and off at established regular intervals. Creed has described this work as an attempt to produce a sculpture in the manner of a piece of music, in which ‘the work makes itself in front of you as you watch it’ [Martin Creed, interviewed by Tom Eccles, Martin Creed. Works, 2010, p. XV]

Revealing the work process has been a constant in Creed’s work since the start of his artistic career. On completing his studies at the Slade School of Art, he began composing music and songs as a way of making the process more visible: ‘A song is a process, from the moment before the music starts until the moment after it ends’ [Martin Creed, interviewed by Jérôme Sans, ‘Blow and Suck’, Live, Palais de Tokyo / Éditions Cercle d’Art, 2004, p.76]

Since then, music and sound have played an integral part of the artist’s work, but there are differences between the two. The sound pieces possess an open structure, without beginning or end. The MARCO exhibition includes a sound installation, Work No. 189 Thirty-nine metronomes beating time, one at every speed, which consists of just this: 39 metronomes all ticking at once, each set at one of the 39 tempos, or speeds, permitted. By definition an instrument of precision, the metronomes thus create a cacophony alongside the action of these 39 objects, lined up like ballerinas, all moving their arms at different rhythms. In the words of Massimiliano Gioni, the metronome serves as an essential metaphor of Creed’s work: ‘sound, negation of sound, repetition of sound. Sound, silence, sound, silence…’ [Massimiliano Gioni, ‘The System of Objects’, in Martin Creed. Works, 2010, p. XX].

A characteristic of Creed’s works is that they can be executed infinitely and repeatedly like a musical score, and, like the latter, each interpretation is different to the last. Many of his works are executed according to the artist’s precise instructions, like Work No. 117. All the sounds on a drum machine and Work, 1995, No. 194. Nothing, 1995-1996, a song in which only this word can be heard repeated again and again. In one of the galleries on the first floor, the exhibition shows works and documentation relative to the artist’s various explorations in the field of sound works, songs and music scores, reflecting the varied nature of Creed’s work and his facet as musician and songwriter.

In parallel to his artistic career, Creed formed a three-piece band in 1994 that played songs pared down to a minimum number of words and notes. All his musical compositions have a closed structure, with a beginning and an end, and may go from a simple enumeration from 101 to 200 in Work No. 196 101-200, 1994–1995, to the more lyrical Work No. 191 Feeling blue, 1994–1996, in which he identifies colours with moods. In recent years, live performances of ‘Martin Creed & his band’ have evolved into Variety Performances, where a combination of different media and languages (orchestra, dance, video art, talks, ballets, mime) is explored in a variety of venues (theatres, auditoria, museums, clubs and campus halls), thereby blurring the dividing line between music and art and genres.

‘I also like music because it’s in the air, everywhere… it’s all around – it doesn’t have to stay in one place’ [Martin Creed, interviewed by Tom Eccles, Martin Creed. Works, 2010, p. XIII].”

Carolina Grau
Curator of the exhibition


Carolina Grau

Carolina Grau (Barcelona, 1969) is an independent curator, with a degree in Art History, Universitat de Barcelona, and MA in Museum and Gallery Management, Business School of City University, London. She has curated the following exhibitions: My Old Man Said Follow the Van (Rosemary Branch Theatre, London 1999); Around the Corner (Galería Cristina Guerra, Lisbon, 2004); Contrabando (Galería Luisa Strina, São Paulo, 2006); Between Borders (MARCO, Vigo, 2007); Free Electrons: Video selection from the Lemaitre Collection (Tabakalera, San Sebastián, 2007); Look Again: Five visions in contemporary video (Tabakalera, San Sebastián, 2009), and recently she has curated Un Autre Point de Vue (La Galerie Centre d’art contemporain, Paris, 2010). Grau has written texts for contemporary artists as Angela de la Cruz and Chris Ofili. Carolina Grau is co-founder and co-curator of the Bienal of Jafre (2003) with Mario Flecha, the V Bienal of Jafre will happen this summer on Saturday 6th of August 2011).