in Interviews | 04 APR 09
Featured in
Issue 122

Questionnaire: Martin Creed

What is your favourite title of an art work? I can’t think of a good one

in Interviews | 04 APR 09

Pablo Picasso, Femme au beret a la robe rouge (Woman with Beret and Pink Dress), 1937. Oil on canvas, 73 x 59 cm. Courtesy: Succession Picasso / DACS 2009.

​If you could live with only one piece of art what would it be? 
Perhaps, or probably, a painting by Pablo Picasso. They usually shock me and make me stop.

What images keep you company in the space where you work?
I don’t have much around except some notes on the wall and a general mess of paperwork. I try not to look at things too much.

What was the first piece of art that really mattered to you?
Probably one of Frank Stella’s ‘Black’ series (1967) or shaped ‘Aluminum’ series (1960). Because they’re not pictures of anything, but just great big things in themselves, I found them inspiring. Their straightforward compositions are a relief. They fill up space beautifully.

What do you wish you knew?
How to finish. It’s easy to start, but it’s hard to go on, and it’s very difficult to finish.

What could you imagine doing if you didn’t do what you do?
I can’t. I don’t know how to do anything except whatever it is that I am doing.

What are you reading?
Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 (2005) by Tony Judt. I haven’t read many history books, but I am enjoying this one.

What music are you listening to? The album Day & Age (2008) by The Killers and a Maria Callas collection. I just went to a concert of a piece by Hector Berlioz called ‘Overture: Le Carnival Romain’ (1844). It’s eight minutes long but I cried in two.

What do you like the look of?
I am scared to look. I find looking sticky. I can’t stop. The more you look the more you find: that’s why it’s better to work blind.

What is art for?
I don’t know. It is something for people to use as they like. For me, it is a diversion and an exciting entertainment, a kind of food for feelings and thought that makes life more bearable and makes it easier to get up in the morning. It is a comfort too, like a handrail on a cliff-top, something to hold on to in a scary world.