Martin Creed Plays Chicago

Eliza Myrie on Work No. 792

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Posted September 20, 2012

Martin Creed. Work No. 792, 2007. Lego. 40.6 x 3.7 x 1.3 in. (103 x 9.5 x 3.2 cm). Collection of Honus Tandijono. Installation view, Martin Creed Plays Chicago, MCA Chicago, 2012. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

Work No. 792 (2007) begins from a small green Lego baseplate. Attached to the foundation is a red rectangular brick. Atop this brick is a smaller 
brick, still rectangular, but white. The structure rises with alternating colors for twenty-two bricks. From this point, the size of the bricks shrinks once again and rises another eighty-eight square bricks. Just shy of the final 111th brick is a single yellow block with two small white eyes.

Creed’s choice of two works to flank the entrance to Skyscraper materially and structurally reflects a relative simplicity. Work No. 792 and Work No. 916 (a stack of nine empty cardboard boxes descending in size from smallest to largest) are a sort of parenthetical 
to the exhibition. They remind us of one of the most generative stages of a structure’s development. Marked by the playful nature of childhood, these stacks are also the eager moments of the architect’s first rendering; a space of imagination; a gesture that suggests a drive to heights that complement the extreme angles one is willing to crane one’s neck in order to see to the top.

The stacks reflect the skeletal nature 
of our tall buildings—of their ability 
to wear and shed various skins. The alternating colors of the Lego bricks 
are no matter; they can be marble 
or glass, steel or concrete. The height, the direct rise of Work No. 792, is 
a hanger for our vertical desires. As an advertisement for the feat of ascension it is also a bit of a weary warning. These stacks are only models. They can be only childhood imaginings. 
In the same moment of possibility we find the projects that languish, those that must remain unbuilt, left as visionary (or just childish) dreams.