Martin Creed (UK)

Location: Chantry of Durham Cathedral, South aisle

Family and spirituality entangled in pure white neon

As we are so used to reading from left to right, Martin Creed’s neon sign (also known as Work No. 2663) initially makes no sense to the viewer. Yet, when viewed vertically, it reads: MUMS, DADS, KIDS and GODS. In this piece, Creed explores the ‘tangly-wangly melt-down mix-up’ nature of our relationships with our family, friends and our personal beliefs, which cannot easily be understood or explained.



The Cathedral is situated at the top of a steep hill. 

Access to the Cathedral is mostly via ramps. Access to the Cathedral Shop, Undercroft Restaurant and Toilets is by steps or by an enclosed platform lift. A level route is also available, although this requires leaving the Cloister and following a route outside the main building. 

Within the Cathedral Church, the Chapel of Nine Altars, the Gregory Chapel and the Shrine of St Cuthbert have no ramps. There is a stair climber which can enable manual wheelchair users to visit these areas under the guidance of a Cathedral employee. 

Toilets: There are accessible toilet facilities on the Cathedral site.  


Martin Creed

British artist, composer and performer, Martin Creed was born in Wakefield in 1968 and grew up near Glasgow. He graduated from London’s Slade School of Art in 1990. He won the Turner Prize in 2001 for exhibitions during the preceding year, with the jury praising his audacity for exhibiting a single installation, Work No. 227: The lights going on and off, in the Turner Prize show. Creed lives and works in London.


Image: Martin Creed, Work No. 2663 MUMS DADS KIDS GODS, 2016, White Neon. 
© Martin Creed. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2021 Photo: Jamie Woodley. 


There’s really only one word for it: family. Sorry, that’s eight words. No, I mean twelve. Wait, it’s actually thirty-two words, including this one and this one and this thirty-two. (Counting there’s and it’s as one word, thirty-two as two words, but not counting this sentence.) With so many footnotes and ifs and buts and ands and it’s easy to lose track of it. It’s a mystery. It never ever seems to add up. There’s always more of it. Words can help to get a handle on it, but they can run away from it too and get out of hand. They can just make it worse. But they don’t mean it, it’s not their fault: they can’t help it. It’s a very vague tangly-wangly piled-up melt-down mix-up, a super-soup with ingredients you can’t make out and can’t count. And there’s a ship sailing on it, a big ship of inter-relationships, and more and more people are getting on it. It’s like one big family.

Martin Creed, 'Work No. 3389'... TRYING TO TALK ABOUT IT


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