Michael Craig-Martin began his career by exploring the transition of daily objects as his central theme. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, his works were made with objects that people can easily encounter in their everyday life as he questioned the boundary between mundane objects and art. In the late 1970s, Craig-Martin began to make line drawings of ordinary everyday objects with black tape characterized by their boldly outlined motifs. While he started with a conceptual approach to this question, his explorations touched on different realms of artistic language such as drawing, painting, and sculpture. Entering the 1990s, Craig-Martin’s focus shifted decisively to painting, rendering unexpected combinations in both works on canvas and complex wall paintings. Craig-Martin’s unique picture, juxtaposing simplified form with unfamiliar combination of common objects, decomposed the traditional language of painting and suggested the possibility of looking at art from a new angle. With the use of simplified images, his works allow viewers to ponder the meaning of art in a less serious manner allowing room for creativity and interaction.
Michael Craig-Martin was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1941. Having studied Fine Art in Yale University, he directly experienced mainstream genres of the time, including Conceptual Art, Minimalism, Pop Art, before starting his own work. Returning to England in 1966, while teaching at Goldsmiths College, the artist greatly contributed to the education of the so-called Young British Artists (yBa), including Damien Hirst, Julian Opie, Sarah Lucas, Gary Hume, and Tracey Emin. Craig-Martin had solo exhibitions in prominent institutions such as Rowan Gallery (1969); Whitechapel Gallery (1989); Irish Museum of Modern Art (2006); Serpentine Gallery (2015); Shanghai Himalayas Museum (2015) and participated in various biennales including Sydney Biennale (1990), Istanbul Biennale (2009), and Sao Paulo Biennale (1998, 2010). The artist’s works are part of prestigious collections including Museum of Modern Art in New York, Tate in London, Centre Pompidou in Paris, and more. The artist was knighted in the 2016 Birthday Honours as an acknowledgement of his great accomplishments in developing Modern art and establishing himself as a father of Modern art.