Kris Martin Exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery

Kris Martin
Summit, 2009

Found stone, paper cross, ink

KM/S 81-1
249 x 81 x 50 cm

KM/S 81-2
218 x 56 x 41 cm

KM/S 81-3
196 x 74 x 33 cm

KM/S 81-4
193 x 66 x 43 cm

KM/S 81-5
180 x 86 x 48 cm

KM/S 81-6
170 x 76 x 48 cm

KM/S 81-7
145 x 71 x 38 cm

KM/S 81-8
91 x 79 x 53 cm
Standing on top of each of the large megalith-like boulders that comprise Summits (2009), Kris Martin’s eight-part found rock installation, is a small marker. When, and if, spotted, these identifiers change the viewer’s perspective and turn the room’s vaguely prehistoric ambiance into less numinous territory.

A small paper cross crowning each peak indicates that they have all been conquered, and by using a charged symbol whose real-life application connotes a range of meanings – of man conquering the limits of awe-inspiring nature, of a civilisation conquering another civilisation, of death conquering all – Martin sets in motion a stark thinking process.

Within the artist’s visual pun there’s also perhaps a metaphor for the importance of process in art-making itself. “The top is nice when you haven’t reached it,” Martin has said. “But once you get [there], the potential is gone. Dreams are what keep people going.”

Martin’s conceptual installation, repeating the same conceit eight times over, is a comment both on the futility of human ambition – what is left once seemingly unreachable summits have been conquered? – and also on the oppressive and absurd spread of consensual, hegemonic belief.

Reminiscent in their exotic roughness of the blue, impossibly steep and faraway mountains that steal the fantastic landscapes of Joachim Patinir and his 16th century contemporaries, these lifeless stand-ins humorously exaggerate the heights to which human foolishness and its quixotic desire can rise. “For me, they’re all very dangerous, mountains… They’re filled with a dangerous power, especially for puny little human beings, like we are.”

Kris Martin's Biography

Born in 1972, Kortrijk, Belgium
Born in Lives and works in Gent, Belgium


White Cube, London

Aspen Art Museum, Aspen
Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf
Johann König, Berlin

Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco
Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle
Eldorado. Kris Martin. Inter pares, Galleria d`Arte Moderna e Contemporanea GAMeC, Bergamo
Marc Foxx, Los Angeles
White Cube, London

P.S.1 MoMA, Contemporary Art Center, New York
Sies + Höke Galerie, Düsseldorf
My Private #5, Piazza San Marco, Venezia
Marc Foxx, Los Angeles

Deus ex machina, Johann König, Berlin

Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen
Sies + Höke Galerie, Düsseldorf

Beaulieu Gallery, Wortegem-Petegem


The Shape of Things To Come: New Sculpture, Saatchi Gallery, London

Contemplating the Void, Guggenheim Museum, New York
Triennale Fellbach
Berlin – Paris, Johann König, Berlin; Galerie Philippe Jousse, Paris

Beg Borrow and Steal, Rubell Family Collection, Miami
A L`épreuve, Institute D`Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne
Earth: Art of a changing world, GSK Contemporary, 2009, Royal Academy of Arts, London
Silent, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art
Morality, Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam
Das Gespinst. Die Sammlung Schürmann zu Gast im Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach
The Importance of the Zebra Fish, Pilar Parra & Romero, Madrid
Moby Dick, Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco
cargo manifest, Bayrische Staatsoper, München
The Site of Silence – Der Ort der Stille, Ausstellungshalle zeitgenössische Kunst Münster
Heaven, 2nd Athens Biennale
Beginnings, Middles, And Ends, Galerie Georg Kargl, Wien
Magritte et la Lumière, Almine Rech Galerie, Brussels
The Quick and the Dead, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
On second readings, Galeria Estrany-de la Mota, Barcelona
Born in the morning, dead by night, Leo König, New York

Heavy Metal, Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Kiel
Political / Minimal, KW – Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin
Ars in Cathedrali, Cathédrale Saints-Michel-et-Gudule, Brussel
Library, UOVO Open Office Berlin, curated by Adam Carr
The Krautcho Club / In and Out of Place, Forgotten Bar Project, Berlin and Project Space 176, London
This is not a void, Galerie Luisa Strina, São Paulo, curated by Jens Hoffmann
When a clock is seen from the side it no longer tells the time, Johann König, Berlin
FADE IN / FADE OUT, Bloomberg Space, London
L’Argent, Frac Ile-de-France, Paris
Speicher fast voll – Sammeln und Ordnen in der Gegenwartskunst, Kunstmuseum Solothurn
The Eternal Flame, Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel
Boros Collection, Berlin
Past – Forward, Zabludowicz Collection 176, London, curated by Vincent Honoré
Traces du sacré, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
You Dig the Tunnel – I`ll Hide the Soil, White Cube, London
God is design…., Galerie Fortes Vilça, São Paulo, curated by Neville Wakefield
Section des Miroirs, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
Der eigene Weg / Perspektiven belgischer Kunst, Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst, Duisburg
Countdown, Center For Curatorial Studies, New York, curated by Vincenzo de Bellis
All-Inclusive. Die Welt des Tourismus, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt a.M.

Gehen Bleiben, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn, curated by Volker Adolphs
Passengers, Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco
The Office, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York
The Long Goodbye, Vanmoerkerke collection, Oostende, curated by Patrick De Brock
The skeleton in art, Cheim & Read, New York
For Sale, Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Lisbon, curated by Jens Hoffmann
Learn to Read, Tate Modern, London, curated by Vincent Honoré
Invisible, Max Wigram Gallery, London
Absent Without Leave, Victoria Miro Gallery, London
Some Time Waiting, Kadist Art Foundation, Paris, curated by Adam Carr
Ci vediamo a casa, Perarolo di Cadore, Belluno
Trobleyn/Laboratorium, Jan Fabre, Antwerp

My private escaped from Italy, International Center of Art and Landscape on the island of Vassivière, Beaumont du Lac
Protections. Das ist keine Ausstellung, Kunsthaus Graz, Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz, curated by Adam Budak, Christine Peters
Faster! Bigger! Better! Signetwerke der Sammlungen, ZKM, Museum für neue Kunst, Karlsruhe
Nichts weiter als ein Rendezvous, Künstlerhaus Bremen, Bremen
Designing Truth, Stiftung Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg
Of Mice and Men, 4th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art, curated by Ali Subotnick, Massimiliano Gioni and Maurizio Cattelan, Berlin
Message personnel, Yvon Lambert, Paris

SEE history 2005 – Der private Blick, Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Kiel
Post Notes, Midway Contemporary Art, Minnesota

Gelijk het leven is, SMAK Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent
The distance between Me and You, Lisson Gallery, London

Verklärte Nacht, Sonsbeek 9, Arnhem

Wahnsinn, Garden of Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium