Los Angeles

Martin Kersels

ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Standing six and a half feet tall and weighing around 350 pounds, Martin Kersels is a big guy. “I don’t fit in a lot of places, literally and figuratively,” he says in an interview published in the catalogue for his first midcareer retrospective, aptly subtitled “Heavyweight Champion.” The conspicuousness of his oversize person and the awkwardness of not fitting in are the generative conditions of his practice, as seen in the show’s thirty-three works, spanning 1994 to 2007. (Newer works were concurrently on view at ACME gallery.) Kersels employs a range of media, from sculpture and photography to video and performance, and has produced a body of work at once hefty and nimble, slapstick and subtle, confident and self-effacing.

Beginning his career in the mid-1980s as part of SHRIMPS—a Los Angeles–based performance collaborative committed, in part, to showing large men enacting small

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the January 2009 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.