For the past few days, enquiring minds in Auckland have wondered what the giant "WHATEVER" sign being installed on top of 18 Sale St could possibly be all about.

Now we know.

Auckland is now home to the largest neon work ever created by internationally renowned artist Martin Creed.

The British artist, winner of the Turner Prize in 2001, is famous for his giant neon signs that quickly become icons of the cities they are installed in.


This one, atop a City Works Depot building in Auckland, will be no exception.

Work No. 2950: WHATEVER is the official name of the sculpture, commissioned by City Works Depot.

The work takes the form of an enormous neon sign, spelling out the word "WHATEVER" in multicoloured capital letters that will flash in sequence, 24 hours a day.

The sculpture was created especially for Tāmaki Makaurau's popular dining precinct and has been installed in its northwest corner atop the former ACC building.

It stands more than 5m high and 50m wide, making it the artist's largest neon sculpture to date.

It has been positioned to be visible from various vantage points throughout Auckland, in particular the viewing deck of the nearby Sky Tower.

This is not Creed's first public artwork in New Zealand. The artist is responsible for "Work No. 2314: Everything Will Be Alright", from 2015, permanently on the exterior of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū.

The Christchurch work is particularly poignant in the context of the tragedies that have hit Christchurch in recent years.


"It's always other people that interpret the work, so everyone finds their own meaning in things," Creed says of his Christchurch installation.

His Auckland work, "WHATEVER", suggests that potential for art to hold many meanings and stimulate a variety of responses.

Creed says he prefers optimism to cynicism, and his sculpture wittily anticipates negativity or indifference, answering such reactions with a light-hearted shoulder shrug of its own.

Represented by Michael Lett in New Zealand, Creed's work is held by a host of major art institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Tate in London, and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

The installation, which will be constantly illuminated with a rainbow hue, will become part of the skyline of a city that welcomes people, whatever their backgrounds, beliefs or hopes.

"WHATEVER" will be illuminated from Monday.

Artist's Statement

Whatever you feel
Whatever you want
Whatever you do
Whatever you don't

Whatever you think
Whenever you sink
Wherever you stand
Wherever's your land

It's you at the front
And it's you at the back
It's you, it's you, it's you

Whatever you find
Whatever you mind
Whatever you touch
Whatever's too much

It's you on the top
And it's you underneath
It's you in the middle
And it's you on the side

It's you, it's you, it's you
It's you through and through

Lyrics from "It's You", Work No. 2504