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    Martin Creed: Work No.1636, 2013. Image courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth Photo: Genevieve Hanson

Exhibition: Farts, cacti, sellotape and 7000 white balloons feature in the Martin Creed's What's the Point of It?

Posted by Liv Siddall,

Someone farted all the way through the speech given by the Hayward’s curator about the opening of Martin Creed’s What’s the Point of It? to a crowd of journalists. It took a while for everyone to realise that these fart noises were coming from behind us, and it was actually an audio element in Creed’s show.

That was just the start of it. Minutes later I was alone upstairs in the show, kicking, suffocating and waving my arms to make tidal waves in a small glass room filled with 7000 balloons. Later I watched a man play a piece written by Creed on the piano, stood in front of gargantuan walls covered in prints made using broccoli, and I stood on the terrace of the gallery looking over London’s skyline next to a massive screen displaying a film of Creed’s wobbling penis.

“I am suspicious of galleries,” Creed told us, “they’re just rooms with special lights and paint.” Which perhaps explains the layout of this miraculous show. Not happy with making work and exhibiting it in the confines of the enormous gallery, Creed decided to take matters into his own hands and begin transforming the space according to him. Subsequently you’ll find Creed’s stamp on almost everything; the corridors, toilets, stairwells and terraces have all been filled with joyous work. He’s even programmed the curtains of an otherwise boring window to open and close automatically. Nothing is left un-magicked.

In short, this has to be one of the most exhilarating, fun shows in the history of retrospectives. Colours! Enormous spinning neon lettering! Music! Stacked chairs! Balloons! Nudity! A Ford Focus! Nothing is complicated, all he wants is for you, the viewer, to enjoy this and be involved with it as much as physically possible. From the stacked toilet paper to the balloon room and the constant noises, bells, whistles, farts, rainbows and dogs, this show is a joyous, soft-play area for an adult. It’s pleading with you to not think but to actually enjoy it. And what exactly is “it?” asked a journalist. Creed shrugged, “it’s something I think about a lot, but I still don’t understand.”

What’s the Point of it? is on show at the Hayward Gallery until Sunday 27 April.

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    Martin Creed at the Hayward Gallery: Inside the exhibition. Photos by Linda Nylind.

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    Martin Creed at the Hayward Gallery: Inside the exhibition. Photos by Linda Nylind.

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    Martin Creed at the Hayward Gallery: Inside the exhibition. Photos by Linda Nylind.

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    Martin Creed at the Hayward Gallery: Inside the exhibition. Photos by Linda Nylind.

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    Martin Creed at the Hayward Gallery: Inside the Martin Creed at the Hayward Gallery: Inside the exhibition. Photos by Linda Nylind.

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    Martin Creed at the Hayward Gallery: Inside the exhibition. Photos by Linda Nylind.

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    Martin Creed at the Hayward Gallery: Inside the exhibition. Photos by Linda Nylind.

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    Martin Creed: Work No.960, 2008. Installation view courtesy Ikon Gallery, Birmingham,

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    Martin Creed: Work No.916, Boxes, 2008. Image courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth Photo: Ellen Page Wilson

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    Martin Creed: Work No.200, Half the air in a given space, 2008. Installation at Galerie Analix B & L Polla, Geneva, Switzerland, 1998 (Detail) Courtesy Il Giardino dei Lauri, © the artist, Image courtesy the artist

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    Martin Creed: Work No.88, A sheer of paper crumpled into a ball, 1995

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    Martin Creed: Work No. 1095, 2011. Image courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
    Photo credit: Alex Delfanne

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    Martin Creed: Work No. 1095.

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    Martin Creed: Work No.1636, 2013. Image courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth Photo: Genevieve Hanson

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Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees itsnicethat.com and has a particular interest in illustration, photography and music videos. She also runs our London listings site This At There, and is a regular on our Studio Audience podcast.