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Fine Art At 30 Feet Per Second

from The Guardian UK

Tate exhibit keeps on running

In Pictures: See a gallery of the work here 

Charlotte Higgins, arts correspondent, Monday June 30, 2008

Richard Creen's Work No 850, Tate Britain

A volunteer runs through Tate Britain as part of Richard Creen’s Work No 850. Photo: Reuters

Martin Creed cheered up the Turner prize no end seven years ago, when he won the award for a piece that consisted of a gallery’s lights being switched on and off.

Now the artist is back with a new work that is likely to prove just as irritating to traditionalists.

Creed’s Work No 850 is a single athlete running at top speed through the Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain – every 30 seconds, all day, every day.

Visitors to Tate Britain will see a runner streak past them, dashing “as if their life depended on it” according to the artist’s instructions. After a runner has made the 86 metre sprint (which will take around 12 seconds) there will be a 15 second pause, like a rest in a piece of music. Then the next runner will dash forth.

The runners have been recruited from various athletics magazines. Each will work a four-hour shift, with sprints interspersed with rests.

They are to be paid £10 per hour; and the Tate will be recruiting more runners through its website in due course. “We’re desperate to find enough people to keep it going for eight hours a day until November,” said Creed.


The piece has a certain mystery to it: why is the runner running? To what? From what? “They are running urgently,” said Creed, “to complete the work.”

Is it pretentious, asked someone. “No, it is not pretentious. No one is pretending. They are just running,” said Creed.

And is it art? ventured another. “It’s not for me to say what art is. I hope people enjoy it and I hope they find something in it. I make my work because I want to make my life better, to make things exciting and fun and enticing.”

The appeal of the running figure, according to the artist, is simple: “Running is a beautiful thing. You do it without a pool, or a bike; it is the body doing as much as it can on its own.”

The pauses between the sprints, he said, provide a “frame” for looking at the runner.

It was crucial, he said, that there should be no separation between runners and visitors; that the runners should have to weave past visitors and the visitors should be able to experience the runners directly, without a roped-off area. Nevertheless, those who take it upon themselves to join in the fun will be peremptorily stopped by museum security. “Running is not allowed in the galleries,” said Creed.


[ click to read full article at Guardian UK ]

Posted on June 30, 2008 by Editor

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