New York

Martin Kersels

Jay Gorney Modern Art

Martin Kersels’ recent series, “Tossing a Friend,” 1996, consists of a group of color photographs that feature the artist hurling people through the air in sunny California landscapes. Much has already been made in the art press of Kersels’ exceedingly massive frame (tall, wide, and overweight), and to some extent these pictures might be understood as meditations on a physical state usually considered abnormal. Like those portly comedians (John Belushi and John Candy, for example) who redeemed their size and weight through burlesque gestures, Kersels may seek to empower himself by throwing back in our faces what has been used to define him. Transforming corporeal excess into a one-man amusement park, his vaudevillian, wonderfully dumb pictures show him taking his subjects for a ride that treads the line between frenzied joy and imminent disaster.

Each picture appears to index the arrested

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