Kris Martin (Belgian, b.1972) is an installation artist, sculptor, and photographer. He uses various materials in his artwork, including ceramic, stone, and metal, as well as found objects. Martin's works address the lofty themes of life and death, in the tradition of Memento mori, using art to remind people of their mortality.

Martin’s 2003 piece titled Mandi III is an installation of an airport information board, specially made for the artist without letters or numbers on its front, leaving only the clicking sounds of its shifting plates. 100 Years, crafted in 2004, is a steel ball set to explode in exactly 100 years when the timer inside detonates, which the artist uses to represent the time limit on human life. Martin's Vase from 2005 is a tall, broken Chinese porcelain vase which has been smashed and glued together several times by the artist, who repeats this process every time the piece changes hands or locations.

In 2006, Martin's solo exhibition at Johann König in Berlin featured a mechanical press as it operated for its final time, printing the words "Et Tu," on paper, which Martin then hung on a wall with black nails. Perhaps his most famous piece of artwork is entitled Still Alive, which the artist made by utilizing 3-D x-ray technology to form a bronze replica of his own skull. Martin has left golden nails permanently imbedded in the floors of museums, titled "Golden Spike," which he uses to symbolize his major life accomplishments. Martin's use of performance in his artwork sets him apart, as most of his pieces require work on behalf of the artist or the audience in order to be seen in its entirety.

In 2007, Martin’s art showed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Martin has also held several solo exhibitions at the White Cube in London, UK, Sies + Höke in Düsseldorf, Germany, and Marc Foxx in Los Angeles, CA. He has lectured at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, CA. Martin lives and works in Ghent, Belgium.

Timeline

1972
Born in Kortrijk, Belgium
Lives in Ghent, Belgium

Exhibitions

2013
White Cube Mason's Yard, London (solo)
2012
MANDI, LehmbruckMuseum, Duisburg, Germany
2012
Every Day of the Weak, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany
2010
Intensif-Station, K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany
2010
K20, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany (solo)
2009
Kris Martin @ Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, USA (solo)
2008
Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (solo)
2008
Galleria d`Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Bergamo (solo)
2008
Marc Foxx, Los Angeles (solo)
2008
Traces du sacré, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
2008
All-Inclusive. Die Welt des Tourismus, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt a.M., Germany
2007–2008
P.S.1 / Moma, New York, U.SA. (solo)
2007
My Private 5, Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy (solo)
2007
Sies + Höke Galerie, Düsseldorf, Germany (solo)
2007
Marc Foxx, Los Angeles, U.SA. (solo)
2007
Gehen Bleiben, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn, Germanay
2007
For Sale, Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Lisbon, Portugal
2007
Learn to Read, Tate Modern, London, UK
2007
Invisible, Max Wigram Gallery, London, UK
2007
Absent Without Leave, Victoria Miro Gallery, London, UK
2007
Some Time Waiting, Kadist Art Foundation, Paris, France
2007
Trobleyn/Laboratorium, Jan Fabre, Antwerp, Belgium
2006
Deus ex machina, Johann König, Berlin, Germany (solo)
2006
My private escaped from Italy, International Center of Art and Landscape on the island of Vassivière, Beaumont du Lac, France
2006
Protections. Das ist keine Ausstellung, Kunsthaus Graz, Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz, Austria
2006
Faster! Bigger! Better! Signetwerke der Sammlungen, ZKM, Museum für neue Kunst, Karlsruhe, Germany
2006
Nichts weiter als ein Rendezvous, Künstlerhaus Bremen, Bremen, Germany
2006
Designing Truth, Stiftung Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg, Germany
2006
Of Mice and Men,4th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art, curated by Ali Subotnick, Massimiliano Gioni and Maurizio Cattelan, Berlin, Germany
2005
Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen, Germany (solo)
2005
Sies + Höke Galerie, Düsseldorf, Germany (solo)
2005
SEE history 2005 – der private Blick, Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Kiel, Germany
2005
Post Notes, Midway Contemporary Art, Minnesota; U.S.A.
2004
Beaulieu Gallery, Wortegem-Petegem, Belgium (solo)
2003
Gelijk het leven is, SMAK Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gent, Belgium
2003
The distance between Me and You, Lisson Gallery, London, UK
2001
Verklärte Nacht, Sonsbeek 9, Arnheim, Netherlands
2000
Wahnsinn, Garden of Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium (solo)

Literature

2007
Stephen Feeke: Legacies of Laocoon. Introduction to the exhibition, in: Towards a New Laocoon, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, 2007, p. 9—13
2007
Kris Martin. Symphony My Private 5, Milano 2007
2006
Kris Martin, cat. Imschoot Verlag, Ghent 2006
2006
Stefanie Kreuzer: Kris Martin, das visuelle Potential der Leerstellen, in: Designing Truth, cat., Stiftung Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg 2006, p. 65—69
2006
Renate Puvogel: Kris Martin, in: Kris Martin, cat. Imschoot Verlag, Ghent 2006
2006
Katrin Wittneven: Seine Tage sind gezählt, in: Monopol. Magazin für Kunst und Leben, 4 / 2006, p. 72-77
2005
Renate Puvogel: Kris Martin, in: Kunstforum International, April-May 2005, p. 295-297
2005
Smolik Noemi, Artforum International, Summer Issue 2005
2005
Stefanie Kreuzer: Kris Martin, Neuer Aachener Kunstverein 2005
2005
Erik Thoen: Kris Martin, ANONYME, in: Flammarion 10 / 2006
2002
Katrien Devolder: The shadow in the silence, in: Janus 11 / 2002