We talked to Kyle Alden Martens about EQUIPMENT, his current exhibit of performative sculptures at the Khyber’s new Hollis St. location. Martens is a Halifax-based artist working in video, photography, performance, writing, drawing, collage, and sculpture.
AA: What themes are you exploring in EQUIPMENT?
When I was originally putting this exhibition together, I was interested in looking at the space between medical equipment and sports equipment because I thought that they had aesthetic similarities but were also wearable and could go on the body. So I was interested in how objects that could correct or heal somebody were also objects that could correct someone, like a wristguard.
So I started with that as a research base and then things got a little more loose and playful. This exhibition was part of the robotics residency I was doing at the Khyber in association with the Pleiades robotics lab. So I started to incorporate the aesthetics and functioning of the robotics they were using there. I don’t think there’s a strong stamp of robotics on this exhibition. But based on my other work which is more standstill, one shot frames of video, I think this is more fluid in a way that robotics would capture video.
AA: What’s it like to be the first artist displaying their work in the new space?
I’m fairly involved with the Khyber, so I was setting up the show while I was helping set up the space. It was really fun to be part of the gallery from the ground up. I was really happy to know what the space would kind of look like but that there were also decisions I could make because the placement of the space was so new.
AA: How do you feel moving has affected the Khyber community?
I think this comes as a good move. I feel a lot of the negativity about the Barrington space is kind of left at the Cornwallis space. Now that we are here, we can focus on programming and showing work instead of scrambling to find a location. So that’s great.
AA: As a Halifax-based artist, what does the Khyber mean to you?
It’s definitely a cultural hub and it’s an important place for emerging and professional artists to mingle and be showcased on the same platform. It’s also an accessible space for art. No one’s pressured to purchase anything here like they would be in a commercial gallery. So things often end up being a lot more experimental too.
EQUIPMENT is on display until Saturday, December 5 @ The Khyber Centre for the Arts (1880 Hollis St.)