about the exhibition
New Works 99.3
September 09–October 17, 1999about the artist
Chris Sauter was selected for ArtPace’s International Artist-in-Residence Program by curator and cultural critic Okwui Enwezor, the Artistic Director of Documenta XI and Adjunct Curator at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Chris Sauter’s conceptually driven installations and sculptures experiment with form and material, injecting humor and materiality into domestic and social subjects. Working with non-traditional materials, including bread, clothing and existing architecture, Sauter deconstructs and exposes the inner workings of domestic space and science through meticulous craftsmanship and transformation of materials. Earlier works have included an exploded model of skin, complete with veins and hair follicles made of bread, and a life-size replica of a kitchen floating above a shallow pool of water, home to a family of minnows.
Chris Sauter was born in 1971 in San Antonio, Texas. He holds a B.A. from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, where he also teaches painting and drawing, and a M.F.A. from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Throughout the late 1990s, Sauter has exhibited his work in galleries and exhibition spaces in Texas, including group shows at Blue Star Art Space and Cactus Bra in San Antonio; Arlington Museum of Art, Arlington; and James Gallery, Houston. In 1999 his work was included in Hallwalls Art Space’s exhibition, Phenotypology, and P.S. 1’s exhibition, Generation Z.
about the project
At ArtPace, Sauter has pared down his palette of materials, choosing to use the gallery’s architecture as the material for his project. From the gallery’s sheet-rocked walls, he has carved individual pieces that he uses to construct a replica of an iconic dining room. Upon entering the gallery, the viewer walks through a wall that has been torn up, leaving studs and building materials exposed. Scars on the gallery’s walls illustrate the artist’s process. While at first glance the forms look like hieroglyphics, upon examination one realizes that they are actually parts of a whole—the leg of a dining chair, a table top, a china hutch. The dining room is self-contained, with its own floor and walls. Monochromatic and minimal, the installation has a ghost-like feel.
Taking a more refined cue from Gordon Matta-Clark’s aggressive interventions with architecture, Sauter’s installation takes on both social and material issues. His approach to making space out of an existing space goes beyond a simple recycling of materials. Like Rachel Whiteread’s casts of interior spaces, Sauter effectively examines the psychology of the institutional site and the domestic environment.
The dining room is a site ripe for exploration: it is the space where communication and nourishment are developed, generally within the framework of the nuclear family. It is a space for presentation and performance—a public space where rituals are observed, stories are exchanged and culture and history are shared between generations. This space for social interaction becomes a microcosm for the world outside the dining room walls. The impact of the social on our personal experience becomes a key ingredient in digesting Sauter’s installation: How much of our personal environment is carved from our social space?
Previous Artpace Exhibitions
Oct 28, 2004 Farm to Market: Robert Pruitt, Chris Sauter, Allison Wiese