Alphabet: Michael Craig Martin

18 September - 13 October 2012

A Hayward Touring exhibition from Southbank Centre, London

NUCA is delighted to host this Hayward Touring exhibition of screen prints by the distinguished artist and educator Michael Craig-Martin. Craig-Martin is one of the most influential British artists of recent decades. He was a key figure for the YBA (Young British Artists) generation many of whom he taught in his capacity as Professor at Goldsmiths, University of London. In Alphabet he has produced 26 screen prints in which the letters of the alphabet are overlaid with everyday objects such as a book, a glass of water or an umbrella.

Throughout his career Craig-Martin has explored the iconography of everyday and designer objects. In Alphabet visually arresting images are set against a background of vivid monochrome colours and overlaid with a single letter. In this series, created in his signature style, Craig-Martin plays with the idea of the ABC children’s primer. Instead of a direct ‘A is for Apple’, 'B is for Ball’, the relationship between the letter and image is more ambiguous and requires some guesswork.

Over the past decade Craig-Martin’s practice has embraced digital technology as a tool for working on ideas and compositions. He has used a computer to create an image bank of everyday objects which have been employed in large-scale wall drawings and acrylic paintings on canvas. He drew upon this resource to create Alphabet, which was then produced using traditional screen printing methods.

Craig-Martin was born in Dublin in 1941 and educated in the United States, where he studied at Yale University under Josef Albers. He returned to Europe in the mid-1960s and was a key figure in the first generation of British conceptual artists. As a tutor at Goldsmiths from 1974-1988 and Professor from 1994-2000 he had a significant influence on two generations of young British artists.

This series of 26 screen prints was published by the Alan Cristea Gallery in 2007.


Continuation of Semiotics Lecture- Blog Task

3. Heart Teddy

This was the third image shown to us. It is of a drawing of a teddy bear which has been stitched back together. When I first saw this I thought it was some kind of a metaphor for a nightmare with the sharp teeth, cut off hands with a open chest revealing the heart. Around the teddy are numbers, making this image even more peculiar- like a dot to dot image almost creating instructions for the viewer to follow even though the image has already been drawn. After we were shown all the images and came back to this image, we were shown the work of the Chapman brothers My Giant Colouring Book which was based from a colouring book where they did their own interpretations vile imagery.

I had difficulty trying to figure which was the signifier and the signified within this image. I think this is most highly likely to be a symbolic/indexical sign due to the fact that this image does not resemble either the signifier or signified as it was the artists interpretation of the children book. However meaning it still has a look connection to the signifier.