Chris Sauter

Exhibition: Sep 9 – Oct 17, 1999

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?


Chris Sauter

Boerne, Texas, USA

San Antonio-based artist Chris Sauter explores the links between biology and culture, the present and the primordial, the personal and the universal. His principal strategies are: the transformation of common objects into other recognizable objects, extreme scale shifts, and the juxtaposition of disparate materials and images. Using architecture as a raw material, he often carves into walls to retrieve material needed to build other objects. It is a means to make literal connections between the architecture and the resulting object or to reveal aspects of their respective natures. He is interested in architecture for its constructed nature—that it is built primarily for the human body, and it can be a potent stand-in for “the institution” whether it is the home, the gallery, or the museum.
Chris Sauter was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1971. He has a BA from the University of the Incarnate Word and an MFA from The University of Texas at San Antonio. He exhibits nationally and internationally with solo exhibitions at John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI; Cueto Project, New York; Finesilver, Houston; Elizabeth Dee, New York; Galerie Valerie Cueto, Paris; and Susanne Vielmetter, Los Angeles Projects. Group exhibitions include Out of the Ordinary at the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston and Come Forward: Emerging Art in Texas at the Dallas Museum of Art.
In 1999, Sauter was selected by Guest Curator Okwui Enwezor to participate in the Artpace International Artist-in-Residence program.

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Okwui Enwezor

Brooklyn, NY