Sick Film, created in 2006 by Turner Prize winning artist Martin Creed, does what it says on the tin. The work is a series of videos which sees a variety of people walking into clean white rooms and proceeding to shove their fingers down their throats in order to force themselves to vomit. It’s everything you’d expect it to be: uncomfortable to watch and awfully repulsive. Despite all this, there is something about this work that forces you to continue watching, in a morbidly fascinating sort of way.
Creed created the piece out of a desire to show just how hard it can be to “get something from the inside out”, whether that be “feelings, thoughts, desires, hopes [or] ideas”. The vomit acts as a metaphor for these things, and the fact Creed has chosen to use something as repugnant as sick is what makes the work so unavoidable and confrontational. Of the piece, Creed also explains it’s ‘a matter of trying to come to terms with what comes out of you… That includes shit and sick and horrible feeling. The problem with horrible feelings is you can’t paint them. But horrible vomit – you can film that’.
Sick Film isn’t a work made to be appreciated by everyone, but it’s a successfully innovative piece of conceptual art, and for that reason alone it deserves to be this weeks Piece of the Week.
Words by Emmie Morris