Gordon Matta-Clark: The Beginning of Trees and the End: Drawings and Notebooks

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Publication Date: 2016-05-24

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Well known for his radical "anarchitectural" interventions throughout the 1970s, Gordon Matta-Clark (1943-78) was always deeply, though less publicly, committed to drawing. His works on paper-which span three-dimensional reliefs, calligraphy and notebook entries-capture the interdisciplinary spirit that defined the art world in the 1970s, testifying to his interest in the crossovers between visual and performance arts. Gordon Matta-Clark: The Beginning of Trees and the End, published on the occasion of the eponymous 2015 show at David Zwirner, New York, documents his extraordinary accomplishment as a draftsman. Organized by theme, the catalogue presents selections from Matta-Clark's Cut Drawings, Energy Rooms, Energy Trees and his own "calligraphy," many of which have never been published. Perhaps the best known of the group, the Cut Drawings explore smaller-format versions of his architectural interventions; slicing meticulously through several layers of paper, gesso or cardboard, Matta-Clark created flat sculptural works that emphasized the voids created by extracting matter. Drawings with Matta-Clark's own "calligraphy" emphasize the medium of drawing as an independent form. Some of the most elaborate and colorful compositions include trees, several of which refer to Matta-Clark's Tree Dance performance at Vassar College in 1971. Near-abstract tree shapes also incorporate his calligraphic marks, with branches constructed from imaginary letters. Matta-Clark's Notebooks, which combine elements of Surrealist automatic drawing with an interest in choreography, appealed to performance artists, including Laurie Anderson and Trisha Brown. This unparalleled presentation of Matta-Clark's drawings is accompanied by new scholarship by Briony Fer, as well as an interview with artist Sarah Sze by Jessamyn Fiore, co-director of the Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark.



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