Featuring 50 new works, NOW at Himalayas Museum, Shanghai, is Michael Craig-Martin’s first major show in Asia. Working as an artist for over 40 years, Craig-Martin was an important figure in the development of London’s Young British Artists (YBAs), teaching the likes of Gary Hume, Sarah Lucas and Damien Hirst. Each of the brand new paintings exhibited will include ordinary objects – parts of modern life’s furniture – such as a milk carton, a chair, a computer mouse, an iPhone.
Craig-Martin has been working with household objects in various ways since the 1960s – his most iconic work appearing as An Oak Tree (1973), or a glass of water standing on a shelf mounted on the gallery wall. In the 1990s he moved decidedly into paint, with strong block colours and bold outlines in NOW each object is rendered in these same vibrant hues.
The artist explains that each object is intended to have the same immediacy as the next, regardless of its origin: “some objects, such as books, stay much the same over the years. But there are others, such as the iPhone, that did not exist a few years ago and which may disappear from daily life in only a few years. I want this exhibition to offer a picture of contemporary life as we know it today in 2015 – NOW.”
Craig-Martin’s works are intended to look beyond and disregard the function of the object painted, instead encouraging the viewer to look at the facts of what is really in front of them.
Michael Craig-Martin: NOW, until 31 March, Himalayas Museum, 3rd F, District A, NO.869 Ying Hua Road, Pudong district, Shanghai 200135.
1. The Johanniterkirche, 2006. Feldkirch, Austria.