Kris MartinFestum II
An exhibition organized by the Kunsthistorisches Museum, curated by Jasper Sharp
The second in a new series of exhibitions at the recently re-opened Theseus Temple is an unconventional floorbased installation by Belgian artist Kris Martin:Thousands of tiny bronze discs, daylight bouncing off their polished surfaces, cover the temple’s floor. They remind us of the paper confetti that is traditionally thrown at weddings, parades or other moments of collective celebration – brief, ecstatic moments, after which it is then left to be trodden underfoot and slowly, poignantly disintegrate. The artwork’s ephemeral, constantly shifting appearance is contradicted by the solidity and permanence of its material. The artwork is titled “Festum”, after the Latin word for “festival”. Placing it within a classical temple, a building synonymous with religious and spiritual activities, with prayer, sacrifice, and votive offerings to the Gods, adds another layer of possible readings to the work.
In his artistic practice, Kris Martin employs humour and an almost childlike simplicity to explore the uncertainty of the human condition, the passing of time, and our relationship with ideas of faith. As we walk through “Festum”, we are invited to consider the ambiguity of celebration, and how it embodies our attitudes to both life and death.
Biography Kris Martin
Kris Martin was born in Kortrijk, Belgium, in 1972, and now lives and works based in Ghent, Belgium. His work is currently the subject of a major survey exhibition at Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland, having previously been shown at Kunstmuseum Bonn. He has had solo exhibitions at Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco; Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Aspen Art Museum, Colorado; Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, MoMA PS1, New York; and the Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen.
His work has also been shown in several group exhibitions, including Mémoires du futur, la collection Olbricht, La Maison Rouge, Paris (2011); Untitled, 12th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul; Commercial Break, 54th Biennale di Venezia, Venice (2011); The Shape of Things to Come: New Sculpture Part I, Saatchi Gallery, London (2011); Exhibition, Exhibition, Castello di Rivoli, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli (2010); Touched, Liverpool Biennial (2010); Traces du sacré, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2008); Passengers, Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2007); Learn to Read, Tate Modern, London (2007); and Of Mice and Men, 4th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (2006).
This exhibition is Kris Martin’s first solo exhibition in Austria.