Gordon Matta Clark Splitting

This Exhibition Has Ended

September 5, 2015
December 20, 2015
In the Picket Family Video Gallery

The son of the Chilean surrealist Roberto Matta and Anne Clark, and a godson of Marcel Duchamp, Gordon Robert Matta-Echaurren studied architecture at Cornell from 1962 to 1968, spending a year at the Sorbonne in Paris studying French literature. In 1971, he changed his name to Gordon Matta-Clark, adopting his mother’s last name. Matta-Clark used his training in architecture as a base for his artistic explorations of space. He was an extremely prolific artist in a career barely spanning a decade that combined minimalist, conceptual, and performance practices. He is best remembered for site-specific projects known as “building cuts.” These architectural interventions of direct cuts into actual buildings scheduled for demolition now exist only as sculptural fragments, photographs, drawings, collages, and film and video documentations.

The eleven films and videos—all transferred to DVD— included in this exhibition document many of Matta-Clark’s well-known performances and architectural interventions in New York, New Jersey, Paris, Antwerp, and Berlin. Not only documents, these moving-image works also reveal Matta-Clark’s aesthetic attitudes and philosophical and political inquiries, all the while playing with the texture and space of the cinematic image.

Matta-Clark’s radical explorations into space and structure, which he referred to as “Anarchitecture,” involved a literal undoing of structures. While the buildings that he cut into have long since been demolished, and the neighborhoods that he worked in, like New York’s Soho and Meatpacking District, are completely different places today, Matta-Clark’s engagement with the urban environment not only put him at the center of his contemporaries but has influenced many subsequent generations of artists.


This exhibition was curated by Andrea Inselmann, curator of modern and contemporary art & photography at the Johnson Museum.

Single-channel video projection:
City Slivers (1976; Super 8, color, silent; 15 min.)

Ten additional works will screen simultaneously as single-channel videos on CRT monitors:

Chinatown Voyeur (1971; video, B&W, sound; 60 min.)
Fire Child (1971; Super 8, color, silent; 9:47 min.)
Day’s End (1975; 16mm, color, silent; 23:10 min.)
Automation House (1971; video and 16mm, B&W, sound; 32 min.)
Clockshower (1973; 16mm, color, silent; 13:50 min.)
Splitting (1974; Super 8, B&W and color, silent; 10:50 min.)
Substrait (Underground Dailies) (1976; 16mm, color, sound; 30 min.)
Conical Intersect (1975; 16mm, color, silent; 18:40 min.)
The Wall (1976–2007; 16mm and video, color, sound; 15:04 min.)
Office Baroque (1977–2005; 16mm, B&W and color, sound; 44 min.)