Martin Creed

I went to see Martin Creed’s Work No. 202 “Half the air in a given space” (01 Feb 2013 – 01 Apr 2013 at the National Art Gallery). I was invited by the Carleton Art History Undergraduate Society (CAHUS).

A room full of thousands of black-opaque balloons. They’re piled about 12 feet high and you slip in the door and walk around in the balloons with your friends.

Sounds Trivial?

It sounds so trivial but I was absolutely unprepared for this.

I was talking to Kira who invited me on Wednesday night and she was verifying that I wasn’t afraid of balloons. I was secretly very amused by this. Afraid of balloons? It struck me again when one of the ladies in our group had a reaction upon entering the Work. Plus an older lady that came out with her hair humorously messy looked quite distressed as she staggered away. This all spooked me out a bit but I was pretty excited to go inside so it didn’t phase me. Immediately inside it was pitch black and I had absolutely no ability to navigate. I realized with all the excitement that I had taken several steps and had not payed attention to were I was going so I had lost my sense of direction. I could see sparks from the static electricity which were not enough to light my way.  I thought without words “How will I find my way back to the door eventually? Perhaps people just wander aimlessly until they happen across a door”? I then developed the strategy that when I was ready to exit I would simply find a wall and follow it around to the door. So that was the first 8 seconds or so.

I could hear the others talking but the direction of their voice was a little unclear. I wasn’t sure. A few things started to strike me. I was moving through the balloons with a swimming action with my arms and I could feel the presence of others when they were near and also the walls as I approached them. That gave me a couple of thoughts about fluid mechanics.

I was pretty overwhelmed and thrilled by all this. I found a window where I hung out for a while. It was in a corner and for some reason the balloons were lower and I was able to dig them away from above me and see light above. The balloons spilled back in but I was wondering why they appeared more shallow there.

The experience was so different than I expected. I came out of there pretty tuned up. I recommend adding this to your to-do list.

Our group also visited a few other areas of the museum.

I was very amused by Hans Haacke’s Condensation Cube (1963-5). It’s an acrylic box with some distilled water inside. You can see droplets of condensation on the top.

I also went through Don McCullin’s photography exhibit. Nothing can prepare you for that. This is a must see.

The small piece with cardboard, fabric, clay and crayons was from Jaya and Elsa (9 and 7 years old). I really liked it I almost lost my group when I stopped to look at it.



Comments are closed.