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Iconic artwork will light up Preston’s landmark Harris building

Monday, 23rd January 2017

Martin Creed’s 13-metre neon Work No. 203: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT (1999), one of his most recognisable works, will be temporarily installed on the front of the Grade I listed Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library building overlooking Preston’s Market Square.

Creed is one of the most influential and exciting artists working today, and was awarded the Turner Prize in 2001. He was also chosen to welcome the 2012 London Olympics with a UK-wide bell-ringing performance which encompassed Big Ben to bicycle bells.

His signature large-scale neon installation will be shown as part of an exhibition that draws from the ARTIST ROOMS collection of international modern and contemporary art, which is jointly owned by the National Galleries of Scotland and Tate on behalf of the public. Running from 27 January to 3 June, the exhibition features a wide range of Creed’s sculpture, neon, painting, video and performance, including several works on display outside London for the first time.

Creed uses materials as diverse as paper, music, air, light and text, and visitors’ experience is often key to engaging with and understanding his work. Creed has said his work is, “50% about what I make and 50% about what other people make of it” and the works on show as part of ARTIST ROOMS: Martin Creed characterise this desire to communicate and interact with the viewer.
Visitors can experience one of Creed’s best known installations, the Turner Prize-winning Work No. 227: The lights going on and off (2000), which involves the lights in an empty gallery being switched on and off at intervals, and is typical of the playful and post-minimalist nature of Creed’s work.

Clarissa Corfe, curator of the exhibition said: “We are delighted to be launching Martin Creed’s solo exhibition for the first time in Preston and to be working in partnership with ARTIST ROOMS. He is one of the UK’s most important contemporary artists and his influence has been extensive. This exhibition will include an eclectic range of his works as well as some rarely seen works in our gallery spaces, around the museum and externally.”

The Harris is delighted to be the first gallery to show Work No. 960 (2008), Creed’s installation of 13 cactus plants, since it was generously donated by the artist to ARTIST ROOMS, and the exhibition will also feature another recent gift to the collection, Work No. 1340 (2012): a large-scale painting of diagonal stripes that is applied directly onto the gallery wall. 

ARTIST ROOMS: Martin Creed will also include the multi-coloured neon work ‘Coconuts’, installed in the museum rotunda, and a series of 'Blind portraits' on loan from a private collection; Creed created these portraits by looking at his subject without looking down at his progress, opening the artwork up to chance and spontaneity.  The rarely seen Work No. 1701 (2013), a film featuring individuals crossing a street in New York accompanied by Creed’s uplifting soundtrack, You Return, is also on show.

Councillor Peter Kelly, Executive Member for Culture & Leisure at Preston City Council, said, “The Harris has had huge success over many years in bringing outstanding contemporary art to Preston and we are especially pleased to be showing work by such a well-known and influential artist, thanks to the support of ARTIST ROOMS. It’s particularly exciting that this exhibition will include a work which is on display so publicly – on the outside of the building facing the square that is passed by many thousands of people each day.  I hope many of those people will choose to come in and enjoy even more of what Creed has to offer.”

Works in the exhibition are drawn from ARTIST ROOMS, Tate and private collections, with thanks to Hauser & Wirth. The ARTIST ROOMS collection was established through The d'Offay Donation in 2008, with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund and Scottish and British Governments. The current ARTIST ROOMS On Tour programme around the UK is a partnership with Ferens Art Gallery, supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Art Fund and by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

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