Michael Craig-Martin (1941 - )



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© London 2012 / Michael Craig-Martin

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  • About the work
    Country: Japan
    City: Tokyo
    Place: British Embassy

    Michael Craig-Martin makes bold, graphic images of commonplace objects such as light bulbs, chairs and books, which he pairs with everyday words. For this print, commissioned for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics in London, Craig-Martin depicts a stopwatch with the instruction ‘GO’ written across in red giant letters. The work conveys the immediacy and thrill of excitement as the athletes hurtle out of the starting blocks, and the anticipation from the crowd in the stands.


    Since the late 1970s, Craig-Martin has drawn upon a repertoire of images of everyday objects. Whether drawing, painting or creating sculpture, he selects an image, which then becomes ‘emblematic’ of the object. Craig-Martin regards these images almost as ‘words’ from a visual language which is universally understood.


    Craig-Martin’s detached, minimalist style relies on the use of readymade techniques and everyday materials, both first seen in the work of Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968), who inspired much Surrealist and Dadaist art. More recently, similarities in Craig-Martin’s conceptual, deadpan approach can be seen in the work of other artists, including Patrick Caulfield and Julian Opie, both of whom make use of everyday objects, black outline and flat areas of bright colour.


    This work is part of a set of limited-edition prints, commissioned from some of the UK’s most critically acclaimed artists to celebrate London hosting the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympics. A set of these prints was presented to the Government Art Collection.

  • 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.
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    olympic games
    Materials & Techniques
  • Details
    Portfolio Title
    London 2012
    HDC 2/10
    height: 76.00 cm, width: 60.00 cm
    Presented by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, October 2011
    verso, bc: HC 2/10 MC-M 2011
    London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (gift)
    GAC number