Exhibition banner for Martin Creed's Duveen Galleries commission at Tate Britain
Martin Creed Work No. 850
Duveens Commission
Tate Britain: Exhibition
1 July – 16 November 2008

Work No. 850 centres on a simple idea: that a person will run as fast as they can every thirty seconds through the gallery. Each run is followed by an equivalent pause, like a musical rest, during which the grand Neoclassical gallery is empty.

This work celebrates physicality and the human spirit. Creed has instructed the runners to sprint as if their lives depended on it. Bringing together people from different backgrounds from all over London, Work No. 850 presents the beauty of human movement in its purest form, a recurring yet infinitely variable line drawn between two points.

In Palermo we went to see the catacombs of the Capuchin monks. We were very late and only had five minutes to see it all before closing time. To do it we had to run. I remember running at top speed with my friends through the catacombs looking desperately left and right at all of the dead people hanging on the walls in their best clothes, trying our best to see it all… it was a good way to see it. It was that kind of delirious running which makes you laugh uncontrollably when you’re doing it. I think it’s good to see museums at high speed. It leaves time for other things.

Martin Creed

Curated by Sophie O’Brien and Katharine Stout. Assisted by Sandra Adler and Alice Teng

Thanks to Professor Greg Whyte, Anthony Shaw, Ashley Gray, Dr Ahmad Alkhatib, David Southard, Mark Baldwin, Rambert Dance Company, Hauser & Wirth Zürich London, and all of the people running.

Martin Creed is represented by Hauser & Wirth Zürich London.