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Renzo Martens’ Episode 3

A Prior #16 / Els Roelandt

© Renzo Martens, still from Episode 3, 2009

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Last summer, during my trip to Kassel for Documenta 12, I spoke with the young Dutch artist, Renzo Martens (b. 1973), who was barely known to me. To be specific, I had already met Martens, at another point in the summer’s so-called ‘Grand Tour’. Martens and I had shared a small apartment in Venice with some other colleagues and artists. I saw very little of him. As the only man in the group, he kept conspicuously to himself. He was quiet, ironing his shirts or practicing yoga. He barely spoke and impressed me as one of the most detached individuals I had ever met. Ultimately, thanks to our—coincidentally concurrent—visits to Documenta 12, we only really began a conversation somewhere near Duisburg, on the drive from Kassel back to Brussels.
While Valérie Mannaerts, the Brussels and New York-based artist, with whom A Prior had previously worked, sat concentrated at the steering wheel, manoeuvring our trajectory amongst German luxury cars, Martens and I reviewed…