Redling Fine Art

Martin Kersels

CV in print & other writings

Martin Kersels was born in Los Angeles and attended UCLA, receiving a B.A. in art in 1984 and an M.F.A. in 1995. His body of work ranges from collaborative performances with the group SHRIMPS (1984–93) to large-scale sculptures such as Tumble Room (2001). Since 1994, Mr. Kersels’s objects and projects have been exhibited at museums both nationally and internationally, including the 1997 Whitney Biennial, the Centre Pompidou, MOCA Los Angeles, the Museum Tinguely, Kunsthalle Bern, and the J. Paul Getty Museum. A survey of his work, Heavyweight Champion, was organized and exhibited by the Tang Museum in 2007 and the Santa Monica Museum of Art in 2008. His room-sized sculpture 5 Songs, and an accompanying performance series, Live on 5 Songs, was on view in the 2010 Whitney Biennial. Before joining the faculty at Yale he was a faculty member and co-director of the art program at the California Institute of the Arts. Kersels was appointed associate professor and director of graduate studies in sculpture in 2012.


Martin Kersels’ work explores the trials and traumas that the body undergoes as it moves through everyday life. He uses what the Los Angeles Times dubbed “performance sculpture” to build colossal works that echo the artist’s body as it struggles through “unheroic” daily tasks; Dionysian Stage, for example, compiles a mammoth nest of household objects into a slow-rotating mass that gives form to the anxiety of American domestic life. Kersels’ practice also includes performances of the artist’s body in states of proclaimed self-effacement or failure, such as tripping or singing off-key. Writing for Artforum, Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer described his practice as “pathetic and revelatory” in exploring the limits of the human body, and his works show the influence of artists like Bruce Nauman and Chris Burden.

RFA Exhibitions

  1. Jason Kraus Jeff Kopp Martin Kersels


    Sep 27–Oct 24, 2007

Selected Images

Seen and Heard, Redling Fine Art, Los Angeles, 2015
Installation view

Snorer, 2015, wood, plastic, aluminum, air pump
59.5 x 32 x 34 inches

Seen and Heard, Redling Fine Art, Los Angeles, 2015
Installation view

Barry Manilow:Barry Manilow, 2015, mixed media
12.5 x 12.5 inches

Flotsam (Ribcage Web), 2011, colored pencil on paper
32.75 x 25.25 inches

Flotsam (Arterial Starfield), 2011, colored pencil on paper
32.75 x 25.25 inches

Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2010
Installation view
photograph by Sheldan C. Collins

Five Songs, Galerie George-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois, Paris, 2010
Installation view

Headache, 2008
Wood, steel, aluminum, rope, rubber, cloth
121 x 90 x 56 inches

Fat Iggy 1, 2008, black and white C-print, ed. of 6, 13 x 19 inches

Fat Iggy 2, 2008, black and White C-Print, 18.5 x 26 inches

Rickety, 2007, mixed media, 137 4/5 x 228 1/5 x 177 inches

View of Heavyweight Champion, The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum, Skidmore College, Saratoga
Photo: Arthur Evans

Dionysian Stage, 2004/2005, willow, aluminum, steel, tractor wheel, motor, found household objects
115 x 156 x 153 inches

Sleeper’s Dream, 2003, wood, steel, wallpaper, faux cherry tree and hemp plants, chandelier, mulch, paper, broken crockery and furniture, 168 x 60 x 24 inches

Tumble Room, 2001, steel, wood, misc. furnishings, paper collages, motor, 118 x 118 x 118 inches

kouros and me #3, 2000, cibachrome print, 54 x 78 inches

Tripping 1 (A), 1995, C-Print, 21.25 x 31.25 inches

Tripping 1 (A), 1995, C-Print, 21.25 x 31.25 inches