Martin Creed - Contemporary Art Part I New York Monday, November 8, 2010 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Cabinet Gallery, London; Private Collection

  • Exhibited

    Turku, Finland, Titanik-galleria, Proper: Blind Date 1, 1998

  • Literature

    L. Buck, “UK artist Q&A Martin Creed,” The Art Newspaper, No. 86, November 1998; L. G. Mark, “fresh heir,” C: International Contemporary Art, September - November 1999, p. 10; P. Polit and K. Stout, Martin Creed the whole world + the work = the whole world, Warsaw, 2004, p. 39 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Note from the artist: As usual the space should be full of air, but half of it should be inside balloons.  Extra balloons may be added over time to maintain the volume of the work, or else the balloons may be left to deflate naturally.  This work was first realized at Titanik, Turku, Finland, in October 1998.
    “It’s important to me to make a big nothing.  I suppose that my interest in air is that it’s everywhere and you can’t see it.  We don’t have a choice about air – we need it, that’s why I like it as a material – it’s something I’ve been trying to use for ages and it was staring me in the face that really the best and simplest way of doing this is just to use balloons.  They’re commonplace and they’re just a way of packaging air…[The colors] are all sort of non-choices again.  The first one was white because I couldn’t decide on a color – and white is a non-color that allows the people who are in the balloons to be the color.  The second one was multicolored because I couldn’t decide on a color, and so I had all of them; and when it comes to choosing a color, black is similar to white in that it is not a color – or at least not overtly.”
    (L. Buck, “UK artist Q&A Martin Creed,” The Art Newspaper, No. 86, November 1998)
    Conceptual artist Martin Creed is best known for his minimalist works made from everyday household items and hardware supplies. Creed explores the way humans interact with these items in a gallery context, and is inspired by the idea of the intersection between art and life. Additionally, because his pieces are made from ordinary materials that he does not substantially manipulate, Creed imbues his work with a sense of simplicity and humility, and seems to defy the increasing commodification of art.
    As expressed in its title, the present lot consists entirely of large balloons containing half the total amount of air in the room they occupy. The work constantly morphs to fit its surroundings, as the size and shape of the group of balloons vary depending on the dimensions of the space. Thus “Half the air in a given space” is perhaps better understood experientially than visually—it never looks quite the same in any two galleries, but the way in which viewers relate to it remains consistent. By enabling viewers to move freely among the swarm of balloons, Creed creates a purely physical, playful environment in which people are invited to consider their relationship to the air in the room and how they navigate through it.


Work No. 202: Half the air in a given space

Black 12 in. (30.5 cm) qualatex balloons.
Dimensions variable: Choose a space. Calculate the volume of the space. Using air, blow up black 30.5 cm balloons until they occupy half the volume of the space.

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity and is signed and dated “Martin Creed 1998.” in the lower left of the framed certificate.

$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $98,500

Contemporary Art Part I

8 November 2010
New York