Heavy Fabric

Kyle Alden Martens


The exhibition HEAVY FABRIC by Kyle Alden Martens, as well as the activation / performance of the exhibition, are presented as part of the biennial PERF (Ré) activation.

HEAVY FABRIC is a mise en abyme installation by Kyle Alden Martens made up of clothes that form a protean assemblage, collage and imprint. Every three-dimensional combination deploys a queer sensuality communicated through codified forms and fabric densities that remind the viewer of the body. These representations insert themselves within and outside of the “closet,” referring to the description coined by theorist Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (1990) to refer to that inevitable threshold certain individuals marginalized from sexual norms must confront. As such, these textiles seem to have come right out of a queer closet; they serve to affirm and run through other sartorial and identity codes. These constructed clothes, that serve as a sort of signal of emancipation — and of subversion — are not insignificant, and blend and seem to almost explode with colour: superpositions of denim pants and t-shirts embedded with coloured gloves, a row of meticulously arranged strappy sandals or micro/macro apparel crafted from a spongy material. Beyond the illusion created with the reconstructed fabrics of the closet, certain objects seem to emerge from a gymnasium within which athletic equipment takes on a double meaning in terms of physical and erotic games. Centred in the gallery space, a tied rope is activated by Alden Martens as he tries to climb it and thus defy gravity. The interaction between the body of the artist and his sculptures becomes a challenge, a constant balancing act between seduction and confrontation.

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (1990). Epistemology of the Closet. Berkeley: University of California Press.

— Jean-Michel Quirion

Kyle Alden Martens is a queer interdisciplinary artist based in Montréal. He graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University in 2015 with a BFA in Intermedia. He has shown his solo exhibition Portable Closets nationally at Stride Gallery, Centre Clark, and Eastern Edge Gallery. Martens has also presented his work with the Khyber Centre for the Arts, Eyelevel Gallery, and the Centre for Art Tapes in Halifax, Canada. He is a current MFA candidate in sculpture at Concordia University where he is supported by the Dale and Nick Tedeschi Arts Fellowship, the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (SSHRC), and the Fonds de recherche du Québec — Société et culture.