Gordon Matta-Clark - In the Belly of Anarchitect
with Pamela M. Lee, Pierre Huyghe & Rirkrit Tiravanija
06/19/04 - 07/04/04
"Gordon Matta-Clark - In the Belly of Anarchitect" is a project by Pierre Huyghe and Rirkrit Tiravanija in co-operation with the art historian Pamela M. Lee. It is the work of two artists around and through the oeuvre of Gordon Matta-Clark, the attempt of a transmission of a Matta-Clark-experience into the present. The project and the exhibition are based on a student workshop held at Frankfurt´s Städelschule under the direction of Hocine Bouhlou and represent a continuation of the art academy´s long tradition of close connections between art, cooking and architecture.
The gallery space of Portikus is blocked through a large wall made of bread. The bread has been baked in situ, and the visitors are invited to eat their way through the wall in order to enter the space. This physical experience is part of the approach to Gordon Matta-Clark. Inside the gallery space numerous actions and presentations will happen throughout the opening weekend. Pamela M. Lee will give a lecture with the title "The Raw and the Baked". Huyghe and Tiravanija will split a cake-house. There will be baking, eating and Graffiti. Finally, a selection of Gordon Matta-Clark´s films will be screened until the end of the exhibition.
Gordon Matta-Clark (1943-1978) introduced large cuts into buildings, offered fresh air on the streets, danced in a tree, climbed into the sky and into the underground, purchased real estate, roasted a pork, fried photographs in gold leaf, ran a restaurant and much more. The comprehensive body of work, that he produced within only a few years, incorporates architectural and social interventions as well as performance, sculpture, writing, drawing, photography and film. It is considered as one of the most influential oeuvres of recent art history. His architectural works and proposals, which have been described by Matta-Clark as anarchitecture, by others as deconstruction or decomposition, have focused on the architectural decay and the social changes within urban space. It was the gaps, the in-betweens, that Matta-Clark was most interested in.
How can the work of Gordon Matta-Clark be approached today as its de-materialisation has been implicated from the start, and as all the work was so closely linked to the space and time in which it was conceived? Most of Matta-Clark´s projects can be recalled only through films, photographs and reports, which are to be considered as autonomous pieces by the artist. Also most of his contemporaries did not have the chance to experience the original installations on the spot.
Through developing their work around and through the method and the language of Gordon Matta-Clark, Pierre Huyghe and Rirkrit Tiravanija manage to go beyond the attempt of a transmission only; they raise questions regarding the possibilities and limits of representation and documentation. Both Huyghe and Tiravanija have been relating directly or indirectly to Matta-Clark in their own previous work. For example, Huyghe´s 1996 "Light Conical Intersect" is a projection of Matta-Clark´s film "Conical Intersect" twenty years later at the exact same site in Paris. Matta-Clark´s cut through architecture has been enriched by a cut through time. Both works were visible only for a short time, and also the experience of Huyghe´s piece can be reported today only through memory and photographs. The notion of experience is also one of the main connections between Tiravanija and Matta-Clark. Tiravanija´s stages, platforms and spaces, that the artist understands as models, are offers to the visitors and they achieve their full capacity only through the visitors´ actions and interactions. Tiravanija´s works are proposals, that can be taken up, negated or modified.
Pamela M. Lee is the author of an important monograph on Matta-Clark: "Object to be destroyed: The Work of Gordon Matta-Clark" (MIT Press 2000). She is an Associate Professor for modern and contemporary art at Stanford University, California.