Martin Creed fills entire museums with his balloons
Martin Creed - Work No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011 - 2.jpg

Martin Creed – Work No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011

Published: December 5, 2016 - Last Updated on May 12, 2020

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 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.

Video: Interview with Martin Creed

24 min 14 sec

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 Creed – Work No. 200. Half the air in a given space, 1998

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 Creed – Work No. 204. Half the air in a given space, 1999, dimensions variable, City Gallery, Historic Water Tower, Chicago, 2012, photo: Nathan Keay

33 sec
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 Creed – Work No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011

Martin Creed - Work No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011

Martin Creed – Work No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011

Martin Creed - Work No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011

Martin Creed – Work No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011

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

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

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 Creed – Work No. 360. Half the air in a given space, installation view, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, 2015, photo: Evan Chakroff

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

Martin Creed – Work No. 360. Half the air in a given space, installation view, 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 Creed – Work No. 965. Half the air in a given space, 2008, multiple pieces, installation view, 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 Creed – Work No. 965. Half the air in a given space, 2008, multiple pieces, installation view, The Cleveland Museum Of Art

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

Martin Creed – Work No. 1562. Half the air in a given space, installation view, THEMUSEUM, Kitchener, Canada, 2015

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

Martin Creed – Work No. 1562. Half the air in a given space, installation view, THEMUSEUM, Kitchener, Canada, 2015

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

Martin Creed – Work No. 1562. Half the air in a given space, installation view, 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. dimensions variable. Phoenix Art Museum. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Martin Creed – Work No. 2497. Half the air in a given space, dimensions variable, installation view, Park Avenue Armory, 2016

4 min 14 sec
Phoenix Art Museum, 2017

2 min 38 sec

All photos by Martin Creed unless otherwise noted.

 

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