Michael Craig-Martin reflects on obsolete electronics at the Serpentine Gallery

London's Serpentine Gallery presents a solo exhibition of works by British artist Michael Craig-Martin that focuses on his paintings of obsolete technology

'Transience' Installation view, Serpentine Gallery.
'Transience' Installation view, Serpentine Gallery.
(Image credit: Jerry Hardman-Jones)

Opened today at the Serpentine Gallery, British artist Michael Craig-Martin's first solo show in a London public institution since 1989.

Following his blockbuster of a summer show at Chatsworth House last year and a showcase of new paintings in Shanghai at the start of this year, Irish artist Michael Craig-Martin is back in the city he calls home with a new solo show at London's Serpentine Gallery. Unbelievably, this is Craig-Martin's first solo show in a London public institution since 1989.

Widely credited as inspiring a new generation of artists including Damien Hirst, during his 15-year tenure as a tutor at Goldsmiths, Craig-Martin has a long record of challenging conventional ways of seeing and his new show, 'Transience,' is no different. Centring on his paintings of once familiar yet obsolete technology - from the battery to the cassette tape to the laptop - each of the successive electronic inventions on show are depicted in the artist's self-proclaimed 'style-less style' - simple line drawings mechanically filled-in with blocks of pure even colour. 

These works, which were created over four decades between 1981 - 2015, act as a documentation of evolving technology, tracking the rapid change from analogue to digital and forcing us to reflect upon how these electronic objects have shaped the way we live.

'Craig-Martin's acute observations present an extraordinary picture of recent developments in the production, processes, functions and form of the objects that populate our world,' says the Serpentine's Director Julia Peyton-Jones. 'His work reveals a search for the ultimate expression of contemporaneity in a way that we all experience – through the items we use every day.'

As well as the paintings, 'Transience' features new wallpaper by Craig-Martin created especially for the exhibition.

The exhibition gathers Craig-Martin's paintings of obsolete technology - from the battery to the cassette tape to the laptop - each of the successive electronic inventions on show are depicted in the artist's self-proclaimed 'style-less style'.

Untitled (headphones medium) 2014, © Michael Craig-Martin. Courtesy of Gagosian Gallery.

Untitled (headphones medium) 2014, © Michael Craig-Martin. Courtesy of Gagosian Gallery.

(Image credit: Mike Bruce)

Created over four decades between 1981 - 2015, the works on show at 'Transience' feature bold outlines mechanically filled-in with blocks of pure even colour.

'Transience' Installation view, Serpentine Gallery.

'Transience' Installation view, Serpentine Gallery.

(Image credit: Jerry Hardman-Jones)

These works act as a documentation of evolving technology, tracking the rapid change from analogue to digital and forcing us to reflect upon how these electronic objects have shaped the way we live. 

Untitled (battery) 2014

Untitled (battery) 2014. © Michael Craig-Martin.

(Image credit: Mike Bruce)

Widely credited as inspiring a new generation of artists during his 15-year tenure as a tutor at Goldsmiths, Craig-Martin has a long record of challenging conventional ways of seeing. 

'Transience' Installation view, Serpentine Gallery.

'Transience' Installation view, Serpentine Gallery.

(Image credit: Jerry Hardman-Jones)

'His work reveals a search for the ultimate expression of contemporaneity in a way that we all experience – through the items we use every day,' says the Serpentine's Director Julia Peyton-Jones. 

Untitled (laptop turquoise) 2014.

Untitled (laptop turquoise) 2014. © Michael Craig-Martin.

(Image credit: Mike Bruce)

Born in Dublin, Michael Craig-Martin moved to the USA with his family in 1945 and studied painting at Yale University, CT. 

Untitled (light bulb) 2014

Untitled (light bulb) 2014, © Michael Craig-Martin

(Image credit: TBC)

'I discovered exactly the same thing about colour that I discovered about objects, which is that there aren't very many,' says Craig-Martin in conversation with Hans Ulrich-Obrist, Co-Director at Serpentine Galleries. 'You can name all the colours and then everything else is a variation of about ten or twelve colours,'

Untitled (mouse) 2014

Untitled (mouse) 2014. © Michael Craig-Martin. Courtesy: Gagosian Gallery.

(Image credit: Mike Bruce)

'Craig-Martin's acute observations present an extraordinary picture of recent developments in the production, processes, functions and form of the objects that populate our world,' says the Serpentine's Director Julia Peyton-Jones.

'Transience' Installation view, Serpentine Gallery.

'Transience' Installation view, Serpentine Gallery. 

(Image credit: Jerry Hardman-Jones)

The exhibition follows Craig-Martin's blockbuster summer show at Chatsworth House last year and a showcase of new paintings in Shanghai at the start of this year.

Untitled (xbox control) 2014

Untitled (xbox control) 2014. Courtesy: Gagosian Gallery.

(Image credit: Mike Bruce)

INFORMATION

’Michael Craig-Martin - Transience’ runs till 14 February 2016 at Serpentine Gallery. For more information visit the Serpentine website (opens in new tab)

ADDRESS

Serpentine Gallery
Kensington Gardens
London W2 3XA

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