Gordon Matta-Clark

New York, USA, 1943 - 1978
  • Date: 
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  • Media description: 
    Super 8 film transferred to video (Digital Betacam and DVD)
  • Duration: 
    10 min. 50 sec.
  • Colour: 
    Black and white
  • Sound: 
    No sound
  • Category: 
  • Entry date: 
  • Register number: 
  • Image credit: 
    Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York (http://www.eai.org)

Splitting (1974) shows the complex intervention of Gordon Matta-Clark on a building purchased by Horace and Holly Solomon, located in a mostly black neighbourhood of New Jersey, and slated for demolition as part of an urban renewal project. In the process, the local government had very quickly evacuated the families that resided in the building. The speed with which it was done left the interior filled with personal belongings, giving the work the feeling of an inhabited space. In SoHo, the Solomons, with the help of another of Matta-Clark’s architectural interventions, had opened a space dedicated to art and performance, meant as a commitment and political statement of the need to transform the social and artistic context.
The artist's interest in these suburbs resided in the possibilities offered by their run-down areas – although not ones so blighted that his project would be buried by the surrounding desolation – to work with the aim of transforming them. His choice of buildings was also guided by the search for expressions of everyday life, as opposed to the arrogance inherent in the monumental nature of official architecture. Buildings he called non.u.mental. Matta-Clark understood architecture as a reflection of the dominant social structures and, therefore, ideal ground for action. The New Jersey intervention consisted of splitting the building in half, defying gravity and the rules of construction, while in the interior, the incisions became changing plays of light. Matta-Clark designed his works to be experienced, to be contemplated from within; thus, he understood that film would be the most interesting way to view his architectural cuts, a language that allowed him to capture the space in its full complexity.

Lola Hinojosa