Gordon Matta-Clark

1943 - 1978

Born in .

Gordon Matta-Clark (1943-1978) was one of the sons of the famous Chilean surrealist Roberto Echaurren Matta. After studying architecture in New York, he quickly gained his place in the margin of the prevalent architecture. In the 70s, he was very active in the New York avant-garde scene. However, he preferred to explore the limits of architecture and art, rather than to be an architect or artist as such. Through his work, he criticised the conventions within architecture and the visual arts, and he also demanded attention for problems concerning social and urban development. The interventions in the 60s and 70s emphasized the condition of NYC as a ‘land of demolition’. Gordon Matta-Clark didn’t destruct anything himself, but, as he put it “experiment with the alternative uses of those places that we are most familiar with”. He called his work performances. Matta-Clark saw the making of incisions and the transforming of buildings as a part of this work. To understand his work, we have to look at all the components, so also the thread that forms the intervention itself as well. None of those interventions stood the test of time, because the buildings were teared down. For that reason, drawings and pictures are the only witnesses of this strange architectural method, and therefore, his work has a strongly temporal nature. His pictures, however, are not only representatives of those interventions: Matta-Clark enlarged and cut up the colour pictures and the cibachromes. By reassembling them, he tried to suggest the spatial experience of his interventions as good as possible. 

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