Across the gardens outside the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Martin Creed’s message, Everything is Going to be Alright, can be seen emblazoned across the pillars, a futile yet vast reassurance.
© Courtesy National Galleries of Scotland
Installed in November 2009 as part of a Creed exhibition to mark the gallery’s 50th anniversary, it seems impossible to imagine the building without the welcome message now, having proved equally enticing in thick snow as it does on the eve of the summer festivals.
So the announcement that the Glasgow-born artist’s neon will be gifted to its Edinburgh bearers seems a natural decision. It’s also a permanent reminder of the signature style of a fellow who won the 2001 Turner Prize with a set of lights flicking on and off within an empty gallery space.
“It has been a hugely popular addition to the building,” says Dr Simon Groom, the gallery director, applauding the “very generous gift” from the Iain Paul Charitable Trust.
“Not only has the work become a central feature of the SNGMA identity and programme, it has also become an international icon in its own right.”
The artist says Work no 975 expresses his urge to “communicate and interact” with visitors. Other versions are available – one is owned by the Tate collection – but the most high-profile of them should ensure Scotland continues to get Creed’s message.