A photo of an artwork by Gordon Matta-Clark, titled Splitting, dated 1974.
A photo of an artwork by Gordon Matta-Clark, titled Splitting, dated 1974.
A photo of an artwork by Gordon Matta-Clark, titled Splitting, dated 1974.
Passing Through Architecture: The 10 Years of Gordon Matta-Clark
Power Station of Art, Shanghai
November 7, 2019–February 16, 2020

Passing Through Architecture: The 10 Years of Gordon Matta-Clark will trace the artist’s radical approach to art making from 1968 to 1978 through more than four hundred drawings, photo-works, films, and archival documents. A central figure of the downtown New York art scene in the 1970s, Matta-Clark directly engaged the urban environment and the communities within it.

With actions and experimental works that include large-scale architectural interventions in which he physically cut through buildings slated for demolition, Matta-Clark developed a singular method that transcended the genres of performance, conceptual, process, and land art, making him one of the most innovative and influential artists of his generation. As Roberta Smith notes, Matta-Clark “used his skills to reshape and transform architecture into an art of structural explication and spatial revelation.”

Curated by architectural historian Mark Wigley, this show is part of “Architecture & City,” a thematic program of exhibitions and research at the Power Station of Art. It aims to examine Matta-Clark’s relentless exploration of topics including architecture, space, biology, and ecology; to question the nature of built and natural environments, as well as human life beyond the scope of architecture fifty years after the artist’s return to New York; and to rethink the multifaceted legacy left by modernist urban-planning ideas.

In the spirit of Matta-Clark’s architectural “cuts” through structures awaiting destruction, this exhibition will follow an existing breach at PSA: an invisible diagonal line that passes through the entire building. 

Image: Gordon Matta-Clark, Splitting, 1974 (detail)