I Fell in Love with a Conceptual Artist and it was Totally Meaningless.

I didn’t see this fleeting exhibition. It was on for just one weekend – the one just gone. But when I read about it, I was instantaneously entertained (even by just the title) And it won’t appear a hindrance that you, or I haven’t seen it, because within this genre of art you sometimes wonder whether seeing, could make anything more real. Let me explain…

‘I fell in love with a conceptual artist and it was totally meaningless’ (held at The Nave, from 9th to 11th December) is the visual creation of comedian Miriam Elia, who struck comedy gold when she realised she had in fact fallen in love (and perhaps out since) with Martin Creed. Creed was the artist who won the Turner Prize in 2001 for a room in which lights randomly turned on and off. An artwork that was physically minimal (what was the art object in this), and yet conceptually rich. But were these words – the words that validated his art -worth anything?

No longer with Creed, this is not a bitter exposure of her relationship with the artist or consequently her attitude to his art, but an absolute ball of laughter. What her exhibition is: is a conceptual masterpiece, and she has used one of the comedian’s greatest tools irony to make it such. For, Miriam admits she actually has great respect for Martin’s artwork, despite what you would believe from the cynicism of the title.

It is true, though, that she picks at conceptual art’s weaknesses, calling such art a “hollow joke.” But by using the language of her own artistry, she aligns herself with her ex’s art form, illustrating they are not the world’s apart that their break up has made them to seem. What she has shown is that conceptual art, which was first established in Duchamp’s Dadaist instillations, begun as a joke, and is taking the genre back to its roots. The result is proof of how art and comedy constantly parody each other, particularly as conceptually driven contemporary art orbits around ideas articulated in words and then materialised in physical artworks. Do these words hold any weight however? Do they hold as much weight as I, love, and you?

The timing, 10 years after Creed won the Turner Prize seems to be a form of commemoration, and the exhibition consists of a light box – almost a miniature form of the artist’s work. But then she writes text in the style of OK magazine (which has an air of Tracy Emin’s confessions of past lovers), that seems to trivialise the relationship as the title seems to also. What isn’t clear is whether it is a pastiche or a parody of her ex-lover’s ideas; whether she thought his work, or their relationship was meant anything. Could, in very real terms, this quantity of time just be what was necessary for her to accept she’s over him? I’m not sure. What is obvious however is that she’s outwitted him, it’s conceptually clever and even better – hilarious.

(Dating a conceptual artist would be a nightmare wouldn’t it?)


One Response to “I Fell in Love with a Conceptual Artist and it was Totally Meaningless.”

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