Gordon Matta-Clark

Office Baroque, Anvers, 1977

This work, involving photographic montage, was produced for one of Matta-Clark’s interventions in Antwerp in1977. The artist had set his heart on the five-floor building of a private company (Marcel Peters), scheduled for demolition and located in one of the city’s most touristy neighbourhoods. Faced with a prohibition to work on the building’s outer shell (the artist was keen to make his action “public”), Matta-Clark had to be content with internal cuttings. The cuts running through the building from bottom to top comply with a formal progression starting from the circle, and culminating in boat-shaped curved sections. By upsetting the immediate capture of a space and its overall understanding (in a single glance), Matta-Clark disoriented the eye and imposed a physical circuit that was not without danger. He cut into the material to give a new way of seeing, unveiling the history and layers of the building. It was through the creation of cut-out voids and the desire to link the floor and the ceiling that a thoroughly sensorial experiment enabled visitors to grasp and “gauge” the building’s inner complexity. A film and many photographs conserve the visual memory of this unique experiment in transformation, from which Matta-Clark derived several works. Made up of several cibachrome prints, in the form of contact sheets cut out by hand, Office Baroque fully describes the work in progress and the in situ work. In a spatial and temporal progression formed like a comic strip or a film, the eye starts with the building’s exterior, at top left, runs across the façade in a sort of tracking shot, then zooms in on the windows, before venturing into the building and discovering, in a low angle shot, the openings made by the artist. The decisive cropping of the photographs, as well as their slightly chaotic arrangement, refer to the very process of creating forms, brutal holes in the architecture which question and challenge its integrity.

Nadine Labedade

partager sur ou