After a brief and unexpected burst of clement weather, the sun has disappeared once more, snow is falling, and the February chill is once more attacking exposed hands and dampening the spirits. But here at AnOther we are trying to think positive, hence the latest vote winner on the AnOther Loves stream, Martin Creed’s philosophical artwork in Rio de Janeiro’s Jardim Botanico, a neon mantra of optimism gleaming under the watchful gaze of Christ the Redeemer.
Words as paintings or sculptures, concrete poetry or political and artistic manifestos are powerfully emotive pieces, some very literal, others tacitly poetic. Emerging from the surrealist movement, as a challenge to the traditional notion that art should be a literal object rather than a concept or idea, the likes of Lawrence Weiner and Richard Long created pieces from strings of words that defied contemporary categorisation. And the form has evolved: Bruce Nauman’s sculptures play word games in neon light, Ian Hamilton Finlay forged works that combined history, stone, poetry and the landscape and Ed Ruscha’s luminous canvases, emblazoned with expostulations, pastiched the advertising that wallpapers our daily lives. It is a form that invites interaction, argument and, in the case of this Creed piece, boosts the spirits with a sense of optimism – a welcome change from frenetic fashion week schedules and miserable weather.
"Word art is a form that invites interaction, argument and, in the case of this Creed piece, boosts the spirits with a sense of optimism."
So, feeling suitably tranquil, here we talk to Lover Siobhan Andrews, co-founder of Daydreaming Projects, to discuss why she identified so closely with Creed's work.
Why did you choose to love this piece?
My friend at Hauser and Wirth (Martin Creed's gallery) shared the image with me and it must have struck a chord! I've always loved art that incorporates text, and it's always nice to be reminded that life is ok.
Where would you put it if you owned it?
In an ideal world, I'd hang it above the front door to our office building, so that it was the first thing we all saw each day.
What is your favourite piece of word art?
You can't really do much better than Ed Ruscha's text pieces, which he started making in the 1960s. "OOF" from 1962/3 is a favourite! But I also love Barbara Kruger and Jenny Holzer too.
Do you have a mantra? If so, what is it?
It's not a mantra as such, but my mum always used to tell me that you can only ever do your best, and if you do, then everything will be ok. She was right.
What was the last thing you bought?
A flight to Italy for the opening of the Venice Biennale in May, a packet of ready salted hula-hoops, and a copy of AnOther Magazine!
What are you looking forward to about March?
Two of the artists I manage have got exhibitions opening in March, one of which is their first ever UK solo show (Clarke & Reilly at Gallery Libby Sellers, featured in the latest issue of AnOther Magazine), so it will be a really exciting, and hopefully successful, month ahead. I'm hoping that spring will finally be in the air too!