untitled [swivel armchair and sardine tin]
About the work
Place: UK Delegation to Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (long-term loans)
Michael Craig-Martin's pictures are always based on a palette of between twelve and fourteen bright colours and around a repertoire of images which he has used since the late 1970s. He selects one image of each object, which then becomes 'emblematic' in all his pictures, and sees these images as forming part of a visual language which can be universally understood.
Each of the twelve works in this series is divided into crisply segregated zones, always in the same proportions. The much wider left-hand sections contain designer objects represented on a large scale, while the right-hand sections present commonplace objects on a much smaller scale. In working out the relationship between the two objects, viewing them becomes a kind of game. Some have a logical connection: the book and the computer (as old and new mediums for conveying information); the watch and handcuffs (as things worn on the wrist). However, the relationships connecting other combinations are harder to deduce and are sometimes simply red-herrings, a feature characteristic of Craig-Martin's earlier work. What a safety pin has to do with a digital camera is left for the viewer to decide, and in this way Craig-Martin triggers a thought process in his audience which extends outside the immediate sphere of the work itself.
Michael Craig-Martin was born in Dublin, was educated in the United States and has lived in Britain since 1966. He has had numerous international solo exhibitions and represented Britain in the 1998 SÃ£o Paulo Bienal. His work can be seen at Tate Modern in London, where he was a Trustee from 1989 to 1999. Craig-Martin has been widely acknowledged for his influence as a teacher at Goldsmiths College in London, where he has taught since the early 1970s and is now Emeritus Professor of Fine Art. Among his former students are Damien Hirst, Gary Hume and Sarah Lucas.
About the artist
A hugely influential figure in the art world, Michael Craig-Martin was born in Dublin, grew up in the United States, and has lived in Britain since 1966. Major retrospectives of his work have been held at the Whitechapel Art Gallery (1989), the Serpentine Gallery (2015), and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2016). His exhibitions have included large-scale wall drawings in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and wall paintings at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. He is widely acknowledged for his influence as a teacher at Goldsmiths’ College in London, where he taught from the early 1970s and remains Professor Emeritus of Fine Art. Young British Artists’ Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas number among his former pupils. Craig-Martin was a Trustee of the Tate between 1989-1999 and was made a CBE in 2001.