A W-Hole House and Selected Drawings Press Release
January 10—February 16, 2002
Opening on January 10th, the gallery will present an exhibition of work by Gordon Matta-Clark (1943-78). On view will be work relating to the artist's 1973 project entitled A W-Hole House: photographs; cut-drawings; drawings; as well as an actual architectural cut in the gallery space, referring to the original cut made by the artist himself. This will be the artist's second exhibition with David Zwirner.
In 1973 Gordon Matta-Clark was invited by the Italian curator Paolo Minetti and Galeriaforma to exhibit in Genoa, Italy. In order to give Matta-Clark an opportunity to make one of his architectural cuts, Minetti secured a simple story building for Matta-Clark in Genoa, resulting in the project A W-Hole House. The original interior of the building was designed in such a way that the central intersection of all the interior walls and doors was located directly under the midpoint of the roof. Starting with a horizontal line three feet from the floor, the artist made two parallel horizontal cuts around the interior walls of the structure, dividing them into three bands. He then removed the square center of the terra cotta tiled roof with the help of a crane, opening it up into shafts of light. The angle of the light beams were then cut into the wall bands. The wall fragments, referred to by the artist as Datum Cuts, and the roof cut were initially exhibited with the photos, the drawings and the so-called "cut" drawings. Although the objects of these incisions no longer exist, the remaining body of work gives a very good sense of the intricacies and physicality of the project.
Concurrent with A W-Hole House, is a show of Matta-Clark's drawings at Zwirner & Wirth. This exhibition examines the range of work from the artist's earliest studies of the movement of energy flowing through structures such as trees, to more abstract circuitry, and from theoretical architectural studies to actual proposals, such as those for the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Also included are several of the artist's Cut Drawing Pads, demonstrating the artist's unique approach to graphic art using a jigsaw rather than a pen. One such work, Infraform, includes photos of a project which was executed in Milan during the same period the A W-Hole House project.
From the beginning, Matta-Clark's methods explored and fused different media: architecture, performance, sculpture, drawing, photography, and film. In both his art and his attitude, he sought a more open society, and proposed a new way of seeing rather than altering his environment. He focused on the commonplace and the "throw-aways" such as the city's many abandoned buildings. In cutting through walls and traditional art rules, he transformed examples of urban blight into art.
The son of the Chilean Surrealist Roberto Matta, Gordon Matta-Clark was raised in an environment that included Marcel Duchamp and Andre Breton. Widely considered to be the last great visionary working in the Seventies, Matta-Clark played a fundamental role in the growth and development of SoHo as the center of the contemporary art world. In 1971 he became a cofounder for FOOD restaurant, which employed artists who needed work and provided an outlet for some art/ food performances which have entered the canon of modern art history. He also helped Jeffrey Lew establish 112 Greene Street, the first alternative gallery in New York with an open exhibition program.