Kris Martin – White Cube

Lost_wax_VII-(2013)

Tucked a few streets behind the heave of Piccadilly Circus, the White Cube Mason’s Yard offers a moment of quiet reflection.

Martin’s work  belongs to an artistic past more interested in the interior world of the mind than overt political or social concerns.  One room at the gallery contains delicate bronze casts of honeycombs created by using the ancient lost wax casting technique. The hexagonal slabs vary in structural integrity; some are almost complete while others resemble broken spider webs – barely there at all. There is something powerful about art that solidifies ephemeral matter; it gives back a moment that should not exist and freezes time.

Downstairs we are confronted by a long row of sandstone slabs set up as a game of dominoes. As we get closer to Untitled, we notice that they are tombstones, ready to topple over and start a thunderous chain reaction. Like the Honeycombs the domino Danse Macabre promotes introspection. We get the sense that we must tread carefully for fear that our mere presence might disturb the work. Martin places the participant in an uncomfortable position; to complete the work, one must destroy it.

Kris Martin Untitled 2013 (medium res)

One more point to note is the work’s humour. This is a game made grotesquely large, a game for gods and giants. The scale creates unease, as if by some cosmic joke we are pawns, not players.

The last room in the show is a collection of collages. Tropical parrots and garish fish are comically placed over biblical etchings. These images echo the humour in the previous room. Although death is less apparent in these works, it is implied through the religious content.

Kris Martin White Cube Masons Yard London 18 January - 16 March 2013 (medium res) 1

Kris Martin at Mason’s Yard is an insightful exploration of the precariousness of life. Delicate honeycomb cast in bronze, blasphemous collage and the God’s gambit communicate this uncertainty.

Kris Martin, White Cube Mason’s Yard, London, 2013
© The Artist, Photo: Ben Westoby, Courtesy White Cube
Kris Martin, Lost Wax VII, 2013
© The Artist, Photo: Ben Westoby, Courtesy White Cube
Kris Martin, Untitled, 2013,
© The Artist, Photo: Ben Westoby, Courtesy White Cube

-Oliver O’Keeffe

Kris Martin at the White Cube Mason’s Yard is running from 16 January – 13 March 2013.