Everything is Going to be Alright


Martin Creed's completely unequivocal, but also pretty darn ambiguous, work for Christchurch.

Made possible through an extraordinary act of generosity by the late Neil Graham (aka Grumps), Martin Creed's 46-metre neon artwork EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT was switched on in late September 2015, lighting the way ahead of Christchurch Art Gallery's reopening after almost five years of earthquake-related closure.

The renowned British artist has used the phrase in a series of large-scale neon works since 1999 - though never before in multiple colours - drawing on the reassurance he was offered by a friend during a period of depression. "I was thinking about how if someone offers you a few words of comfort when you are distressed; even if the words are empty because there is not anything to back them up, it can be comforting. No one can say everything is going to be alright, but despite that, many times in my life I have been very comforted by people saying something like that to me."

Like much of the Turner Prize winning artist's practice, the work's very simplicity invites a range of interpretations. It's not a grandiose declaration, an empty cliché or a heartfelt encouragement: it's all of those things, all at once. What, after all, could be more perfect for Christchurch than this bold assertion of relentless optimism, laced with the unspoken anxiety that hope might not be enough? EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT will blaze night and day, seven days a week, for years to come; an electrified and electrifying reminder for romantics and realists alike of the power of art. And that's a hopeful sign, however you look at it.

Exhibition number 999

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