Friday, 27 November 2009


(photo from Robb1e's photostream on Flickr here, used under the Creative Commons Attribution licence)

So says Martin Creed's illuminated sign on the front of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. I've been known to have my doubts. I've got a shaky film clip of it, which I quite like, and may eventually get around to posting. I wandered past the gallery last Sunday in Edinburgh with my sister and her boyfriend. We'd left the flat quite late, so only made it to the Dean Gallery before it closed, walking there along the Water of Leith, on the cusp of flooding like every other river I've seen recently. It was almost dark before we entered the gallery, darker when we left; as we walked home along the road, Creed's sign loomed out of the night rain at us, which might be the best way to encounter it.

When I was at high school in Ottawa, Canada, part of my bus route home took me down a winding hill. At the bottom was a church with a neon cross on the top, and in winter it was the only thing I could see outside the bus window, floating high in the darkness. The installation on the front of the gallery reminded me of this; not only because I remember the cross as being in the same cold blue neon as Creed's piece, but also because both signs aroused similar ambivalent feelings in me. I love the tacky aesthetic of neon, but being advised that everything is going to be alright in block capitals is a bit like being told DON'T PANIC. I wasn't going to panic, but I just might now...

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