Martin Creed fills entire museums with his balloons

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Martin Creed - Work No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011 - 2.jpg
Martin CreedWork No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011
Photo: Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo/marcovigo.com

Published on: Monday December 5, 2016

Last updated

Martin Creed’s ‘Half the Air in a Given Space’

Martin Creed’s Work Half the Air in a Given Space, is a brilliantly fun way to experience interactive art. As an audience member, you find yourself pushing your way through a space, whether it be a room or a hallway or a lobby, filled (only halfway) with up to 37,000 balloons. You as an audience member are completely surrounded by marshmallows, and although the image is joyfully preposterous, however, as you get into the space you find you feel a mixture of emotions including exhilaration, disorientation, but don’t be surprised if you feel a little bit claustrophobic.

What is globophobia?

Half the Air in a Given Space can be described as an interactive installation (which is easily an understatement if anything). This is every child’s dream or every globophobic’s worst nightmare (globophobia is the fear of balloons), basically, a space that’s filled with of hundreds or thousands of balloons of the same color. Half a room’s entire volume is filled with balloons, and visitors become a part of the art by walking through the balloon filled room.

How does this work make you feel?

For those who are not globophobic or claustrophobic, this piece is supposed to evoke the feeling of deep celebration and remanence of childhood memories. If you have no problem with balloons or small spaces, you can be pretty much guaranteed that you will leave the installation with a smile on your face from the touch of nostalgia you have emerged from.

Different versions of Half the Air in a Given Space

In 2012, Creed installed four versions of this work in neighborhoods throughout the city, each site featured a different colored balloon. Thus not only are audience members who brave the balloons submerged in a room half-filled with air, but they are submerged in the color, in a supernatural world in which their senses cannot fully be relied on, a world in which beauty and playfulness are combined.

Selected works

Work No. 200, 1998, Tate St.Ives

Martin Creed - Work No. 200. Half the air in a given space, 1998 Courtesy the artist and Hauser © Martin Creed
Martin CreedWork No. 200. Half the air in a given space, 1998

Martin Creed - Work No. 200. Half the air in a given space, at Tate St.Ives, 2011
Martin CreedWork No. 200. Half the air in a given space, at Tate St.Ives, 2011
Photo by Rosa Park/mrpeteclark.blogspot.com

Martin Creed - Work No. 200. Half the air in a given space, at Tate St.Ives, 2011, Photo by Rosa Park
Martin CreedWork No. 200. Half the air in a given space, at Tate St.Ives, 2011
Photo by Rosa Park/mrpeteclark.blogspot.com

Martin Creed - Work No. 200. Half the air in a given space, at Tate St.Ives, 2011
Martin CreedWork No. 200. Half the air in a given space, at Tate St.Ives, 2011
Photo: mywashingline/mywashingline.wordpress.com

Work No. 204, 2012, City Gallery, Chicago

Martin Creed - Work No. 204. Half the air in a given space, 1999, dimensions variable, City Gallery, Historic Water Tower, Chicago, 2012, Photo- Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Martin CreedWork No. 204. Half the air in a given space, 1999, dimensions variable, City Gallery, Historic Water Tower, Chicago, 2012
Photo: Nathan Keay/mcachicago.org

Work No. 247, 2011, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo

Martin Creed - Work No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011
Martin CreedWork No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011
Photo: Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo/marcovigo.com

Martin Creed - Work No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011
Martin CreedWork No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011
Photo: Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo/marcovigo.com

Martin Creed - Work No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011, Photo by Moby
Martin CreedWork No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011
Photo: Moby/highlike.org

Martin Creed - Work No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011
Martin CreedWork No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011
Photo: Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo/marcovigo.com

Work No. 329, 2004, Rennie Collection

Martin Creed - Work No. 329. Half the air in a given space, 2004. Rennie Collection
Martin CreedWork No. 329. Half the air in a given space, 2004, Rennie Collection

Martin Creed - Work No. 329. Half the Air in a Given Space
Martin CreedWork No. 329. Half the air in a given space
Photo: Michael Lett/michaellett.com

Work No. 360, 2015, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle

Martin Creed - Work No. 360. Half the Air in a Given Space, 2015, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, Photo by Evan Chakroff
Martin CreedWork No. 360. Half the air in a given space, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, 2015
Photo: Evan Chakroff/henryart.org

Martin Creed - Work No. 360. Half the Air in a Given Space, 2015, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle
Martin CreedWork No. 360. Half the air in a given space, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, 2015

Work No. 965, 2008, The Cleveland Museum Of Art

Martin Creed - Work No. 965. Half the Air in a Given Space, 2008, multiple pieces, The Cleveland Museum Of Art
Martin CreedWork No. 965. Half the air in a given space, 2008, multiple pieces, The Cleveland Museum Of Art
Photo: The Cleveland Museum Of Art/clevelandart.org

Martin Creed - Work No. 965. Half the Air in a Given Space, 2008, multiple pieces, The Cleveland Museum Of Art
Martin CreedWork No. 965. Half the air in a given space, 2008, multiple pieces, The Cleveland Museum Of Art
Photo: The Cleveland Museum Of Art/clevelandart.org

Work No. 1562, 2015, THEMUSEUM

Martin Creed - Work No. 1562. Half the air in a given space, 2015, THEMUSEUM, Kitchener, Canada
Martin CreedWork No. 1562. Half the air in a given space, THEMUSEUM, Kitchener, Canada, 2015

Martin Creed - Work No. 1562. Half the air in a given space, 2015, THEMUSEUM, Kitchener, Canada
Martin CreedWork No. 1562. Half the air in a given space, THEMUSEUM, Kitchener, Canada, 2015

Martin Creed - Work No. 1562. Half the air in a given space, 2015, THEMUSEUM, Kitchener, Canada
Martin CreedWork No. 1562. Half the air in a given space, THEMUSEUM, Kitchener, Canada, 2015

Work No. 2497, 2015, Park Avenue Armory & Phoenix Art Museum

Martin Creed - Work No. 2497. Half the air in a given space, 2015, Park Avenue Armory
Martin CreedWork No. 2497. Half the air in a given space, Park Avenue Armory, NYC, 2015
Photo: Claire Voon/hyperallergic.com

Martin Creed - Work No. 2497. Half the air in a given space, 2015. dimensions variable. Phoenix Art Museum. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Martin CreedWork No. 2497. Half the air in a given space, dimensions variable. Phoenix Art Museum

All photos by Martin Creed/martincreed.com unless otherwise noted.

Videos

Phoenix Art Museum, 2017

2min 38sec

Park Avenue Armory, 2016

4min 14sec

Nuit Blanche, Edmonton, 2015

5min 52sec

City Gallery, Chicago, 2012

33sec

Interview with Martin Creed

24min 14sec

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