Martin Creed Plays Chicago: Work No. 1020 (Ballet)

Fortified with a generous sense of humor, Martin Creed reevaluates the status of art in this virtuosic mash up of music and movement. The Turner Prize–winning artist defines his artistic embrace broadly, from monumental neon signs to poetic objects made from crumpled paper. For this performance, his first ballet, Creed plays lead guitar with his London-based band, joined by phenomenal dancers from the original Sadler Wells production. Creed’s challenge—to compose a work using only the five core positions of classical ballet, each paired with a musical note—creates the conditions for a beguiling collision of rules and spontaneity.

I think one of the main ideas is to have a mixture of different kinds of things. And the first one was the neon work that says "THINGS" and to have sculptures as well and paintings and there’s gonna be also live – well I’ve done a talk, which is a kind of live work, including songs, and I’m going to be doing the ballet. I don’t know what materials are best so I try to use as many different materials as I can.

The point of the ballet work, which is gonna be toward the end of the residency is that that actually, to me part of the point of that is, as much as it is a dance piece, to me it’s a mixture of stuff that brings together a lot of the other sculpture and video and visual work as well as live work, so the point for me of the ballet is actually to try to jumble everything together in one work. So if the residency is a jumble of different things and over one year, the ballet is a microcosm of that and that’s one of the reasons I’ve been working on that so much in recent years, cause it feels like the theatrical show of – which has been called the ballet so far, when I’ve done it, it feels like there’s a chance to put together lots of different things in one place.