To the left of the entrance of Western Bridge (designed by Roy McMakin, owned by Bill & Ruth True) is an over-sized domestic window. These days, it sports a curtain that opens and closes. Opens, and closes. Opens, and closes.
Standing in the parking lot, we’re sitting on the edge of our imaginary seats. As befits everyone’s busy schedule, we enjoy the beginning and end without having to suffer through the middle. The curtain offers what Paul Valéry wanted to convey in his writing, “the sensation of a story without the boredom of its conveyance.”
Martin Creed‘s Open/Closed, Big/Small, Full/Empty, On/Off is a recap of Creed’s magically mundane moments, for once given all the space they need. In the central gallery, there might be nothing at all. In that case, it means the art has wandered off to look for a treat, a walk, a meal, a pat on the head or a nap under the stairs.
Big/Small (Work No. 748)
In the video gallery, a lamp goes on and off. There’s also a balloon gallery, this time silver.
About that light going on and off (Work No. 227) –
Maurizio Cattelan sensed a dark purpose:
We all have our bad days, when you just can’t get it right, like moments of loss and surrender. And we all have our good days, when everything seems to run smoothly, just perfect for no apparent reason. I can see clearly now the rain has gone. You wake up, things are okay, and the sun is shining. And then out of the blue, there you go again, down into the dark pit of depression. It’s not just a matter of mood swings. Its something more basic and perverse: the inability to preserve joy. The need to measure it against a black background. Art is no different. It’s a ride on the roller coaster of emotions. Sometimes I feel so happy, sometimes I feel so sad. I always thought Martin Creed’s Work No. 227: The lights going on and off had something to do with this simple truth. It has the ability to compress happiness and anxiety within one single gesture. Lights go on, lights go off – sunshine and rain, and then back to beginning to repeat endlessly. I do not know what Creed was thinking about when he made it but to me it always looked like a swing, a mood swing. That’s why I never found it funny but frightening in its simplicity, it’s a sculpture for our lithium oriented, Prozac enhanced reality. Are we afraid of the dark or just blinded by the light? I see a rainbow and I want to paint it black.
For me, Creed’s work has always been about breathing, about in and out, compression and release; about space charged with a sense of moment, a space where dark and light do not contrast as positives and negatives but embrace as wide-open potentials.
Robert Creeley – Midnight
When the rain stops
and the cat drops
out of the tree
away, when the rain stops,
when the others come home, when
the phone stops,
the drip of water, the
potential of a caller
any Sunday afternoon.
Through Dec. 18.