Martin Creed Plays Chicago

Lucy Wang on MOTHERS


Posted January 3, 2013


Martin Creed
Work No. 1357, MOTHERS, 2012
White neon, steel
22.4 x 47.6 feet (6.8 x 14.5 m)
Courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York
Installation view, Martin Creed Plays Chicago, MCA Chicago, 2012
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

As a teenager, I have ambivalent feelings about MOTHERS. On one hand, the work is reminiscent of my mother hovering over me, constantly watching and never missing a thing. On the other hand, I’m glad to have someone who’s always here to take care of me. Either way this work pays a well-deserved tribute to our mothers and the all-encompassing role they played in our lives as children. On second thought, what if Martin is questioning our undying devotion to our mothers? What if he’s asking us if we can over-praise (if that’s even a word) or over-value our moms? What if he’s making a statement on how we all focus on the mother and not the father? (Compare Mother’s Day festivities to Father’s Day ones.) Maybe I’m overthinking it now. Maybe he just wanted to make a nice spinning sculpture.