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Aspen Art Museum


Kris Martin

Dec 11, 2009-Jan 24, 2010

Belgian artist Kris Martin creates objects in which the ideas and the materials are carefully refined. From a full-size church bell to a pile of broken wristwatches, an enigmatic bomb to a blank train information board, Martin’s works emphasize time: its making, its passage, and its role in aging. Martin explores time’s relationship to faith and to our self-conception and sense of mortality, cueing into these essential elements of our worldview with a wit and incisiveness that is disarmingly earnest and direct.

For his exhibition at the Aspen Art Museum, Martin positioned five large, human-height boulders and marked their apexes with tiny paper crosses. This shift of scale and perspective turned these rocks into mountains, their cracks into crevasses, and their highest points into symbols of arduous accomplishment. For Martin, the summit marker imparts the comforting knowledge that, although the journey ahead may seem overwhelming, someone has been there before.

Also included in the exhibition is Martin’s Idiot (2005). Printed to resemble a pocket bible, this artist’s book consists of Martin’s hand transcription of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s 1868 novel The Idiot, in which the artist replaced the name of the book’s protagonist with his own. In so doing, the work becomes an unconventional self-portrait, and an extreme act of adulation in which Martin identifies with Myshkin’s desire for spiritual transformation. In addition to conventional distribution, the book was placed in hotel room nightstands throughout Aspen, including: Annabelle Inn, Hotel Aspen, Hotel Durant, Hotel Jerome, Hotel Lenado, Innsbruck Inn, The Little Nell, Limelight Lodge, Molly Gibson Lodge, Mountain Chalet Aspen, Mountain House Lodge, St. Moritz Lodge, the St. Regis Resort, Aspen, and Sky Hotel.

Kris Martin’s exhibition was organized by the Aspen Art Museum and funded in part by the AAM National Council. Exhibition lectures are presented by the Questrom Lecture Series.