Kris Martin

Sies + Höke

I’m rarely won over to a new artist by a single work, but it happened during the recent art fair in Cologne. When I entered the Sies + Höke booth, my gaze was unexpectedly drawn to a gold-plated steel ball, sitting like an afterthought on the carpeting in the corner of the space. This work, by the young Belgian artist Kris Martin, immediately brought to mind images of golden orbs by James Lee Byars, the beauty of their spherical forms intensified by the brilliance of gold—but something more was going on here. I soon learned that this aesthetically perfect object, 100 years, 2004, purportedly contains ten bombs set to explode in one hundred years. And suddenly everything was different: Unlike most artworks, meant to exist enduringly, the meaning of this orb’s existence lay in its predicted obliteration, however far off.

But will the promised explosion really take place? Who can guarantee

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