Irina Kulik will trace the diverse paths of two contemporary British artists both of whom employ a critical distance and a certain sense of humor in their practices.
Angus Fairhurst (1966–2008) is an avid representative of the YBA generation. He organized the first exhibition of his Goldsmiths University coursemates a few months before Damien Hirst’s legendary Freeze show (both in 1988) and was a friend and collaborator of Sarah Lucas throughout the 1990s. Fairhurst implemented photography, video, installation, painting, and sculpture for investigating the very phenomenon of contemporary art and the figure of the artist, by unpicking the notions of art market and gallery infrastructure. His melancholic pieces are penetrated with satire, deadpan aesthetic, and self-irony. Arguably his best-known motif—gorilla—appeared as early as in the drawings in the mid-1990s but became especially popular after series of bronze sculptures depicting the animal in various surrealist scenarios. Angus Fairhurst committed suicide on March 29, 2008 in Scotland, on the closing day of his solo show in London’s Sadie Coles HQ Gallery.
Martin Creed (b. 1968) is an artist and musician. The winner of the 2001 Turner Prize, he remains one of the most active and talked about British practitioners. Since the late 1980s, Creed has been numbering all of his art and music pieces, with his current body of works comprising almost three thousand items. Creed’s mediums vary a lot depending on his creative tasks, but he often performs in post-conceptual manner and uses video and audio (including tracks and scores written by himself). Many of his paintings, installations, public art projects, and commissions for private and public spaces can be defined as minimalist, performative, site specific, and witty. As a musician, Creed founded his own band and the record label Telephone Records. He releases albums and collaborates with many artists, the band Franz Ferdinand among them. Creed’s Work #1197: All the Bells opened the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, where the artist has been living in the recent years.