Kris Martin | DEUS EX MACHINA
KÖNIG GALERIE | Dessauerstrasse | 9.9.–14.10.2006
Press Release:

We are very happy to be able to present the first solo exhibition of Kris Martin (born in 1972), showing the artist's recent installations and photography.In the middle of the space is a forty-year-old printing press. During the opening, both printer and press will print their final sheet, featuring the words "Et tu": supposedly Julius Caesar's last words before being killed by his friend Brutus, they express recognition and astonishment about his own death. Life's finitude and relativity are important motifs in the work of Kris Martin. This is also explored in the often discussed work 100 Years (2004), a steel ball that threatens to explode in one hundred years time, as well as Mandi III (2003), shown at this year's Berlin Biennale: a black airport sign for showing arrivals and departures, but without numbers or letters. We just hear the sound of the metal plates as they turn around. The lack of text—the time and places—refers to the textual level of meaning. Repeatedly, Kris Martin uses signs, words, quotations, literature, whether in the repeated marking of the year 2023 in unexpected places, the counting of the years of his life in fives (My Days Are Counted, 2005) or the handwritten copies of world literature (Idiot, 2004–05), often text is source and material. The collages shown here contain the smallest fragment of text: the period, a period that marks the end of the final sentence of a book (for example, The Diary of Anne Frank). The minimalist collages themselves appeal through the stubborn emptiness of the paper and the book title to the beholder's imagination. This space of imagination is present in various works: in a globe not covered in continents, but green paint, or in the empty flag mast (Les jours de fête, 2005) that seems to promise a state holiday, but cannot hold a flag. Represented in this way are thus voids, the white sheet, the empty flag mast, the empty globe, also marking limits: between imagination and reality, between past and present.