Celebrating Contemporary: Michael Craig-Martin's Inhale (yellow)

  • 2 September 2011

Celebrating Contemporary continues with a look at this colourful piece by Art Fund trustee Craig-Martin

Inhale (yellow), Michael Craig-Martin, 2002 © Michael Craig-Martin

Our month long season exploring and celebrating contemporary art continues with a look at this colourful piece by Art Fund trustee Michael Craig-Martin.

The work

The Art Fund helped acquire Inhale (yellow) for Manchester Art Gallery in 2003 and you can see it on display there now. An assortment of household objects juxtaposed in various scales highlight Craig-Martin’s infamous use of garish and synthetic colour. The painting was directly inspired by a site specific installation, Inhale/Exhale which the artist produced at the gallery for their reopening in 2002.

Michael Craig-Martin discusses his transition into colour in an audio interview with the Director of Whitechapel Art Gallery, Iwona Blazwick. Listen to the interview here.

The artist

Michael Craig-Martin was born in Dublin in 1941, and grew up and studied art in the USA. He came to London in 1966 and has lived and worked there ever since. Throughout his career he has explored the expressive potential of commonplace objects and images. Among his best known works is An Oak Tree (1973), in which he claimed to have changed a glass of water into an oak tree. You can see this work on display at Tate Britain.

Craig-Martin has been an influential teacher at Goldsmiths College in London, earning him the title 'the godfather of the Young British Artists' (YBAs). He taught artists such as Michael Landy, Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas.

Did you know?

Craig-Martin's conceptual work The Oak Tree was refused entry by Australian customs as they thought it was actual vegetation. The artist had to explain it was simply a glass of water...

VOTE for Inhale (yellow) by Michael Craig-Martin