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.