What's the Point Of It?

Monday, 12 May 2014

Polaroid of balloons, Martin Creed exhibition
Looking a tad goofy.
Last week, I went to the Southbank Hayward Gallery to catch the tail-end of Martin Creed's latest modern art exhibition 'What's The Point Of It?'. I confess that I went in pretty much blind, by no means a connoisseur of modern art, and without even having heard of Martin Creed. What I had heard was that there was a room full - and I mean packed - with balloons. I was sold. And I expect this is what drew 99% of people there.   

Half The Air In A Given Space', an exhibit in which precisely half the air in the room is contained in balloons, stole the show. Now I'm almost inevitably claustrophobic in small spaces and big crowds but, strangely, didn't feel the slightest bit uncomfortable in a room full of 7,000 balloons. Once inside, we became childlike, completely uninhibited and so very mildly insane: think tipsy, suited-, grown men invading a bouncy castle after hours.

Polaroid of Martin Creed's exhibition
But then maybe modern art is made to pass me by. Creed's 1,000-strong wall of poster paint stamped broccoli (yes) was impressive in its scale and eccentricity but I just can't help but draw the line at a tiny lump of blu-tac stuck to the wall: hardly a feat of great craftmanship or of imagination. On the other hand, to those who say 'I could've done that', well, you didn't. Slight irritation at the fact that Martin Creed so smoothly anticipates and deflects potential criticism, or anyone asking the inevitable 'What's the Point Of It?', by naming his exhibition just that. It's a bit like agreeing to interview but then smugly answering every question with 'You tell me'. Helpful!

What I will say is that the exhibition was whimsical, fun, and fantastically feel-good. Ultimately, asking the age-old 'What's The Point Of It?' is... slightly besides the point.

polaroid of modern art
Broccoli. Obviously.

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