June 6, 2019 - Canadian Centre for Architecture - Gordon Matta-Clark, out of the box
e-flux Architecture
June 6, 2019
June 6, 2019

Canadian Centre for Architecture

Gordon Matta-Clark in Sag Harbor, New York, 1976–1977. PHCON2002:016:005:046, Canadian Centre for Architecture Collection, gift of Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark. © Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark.

Gordon Matta-Clark, out of the box
Three-part exhibition series explores artist's collection
June 7, 2019–May 24, 2020

Part 1, Material Thinking: June 7–September 8

Canadian Centre for Architecture
1920 rue Baile
Montréal Québec H3H 2S6

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Today, the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) launches its latest Out of the Box project, which in 2019-2020 examines the collection of trained architect and conceptual artist, Gordon Matta-Clark through an exhibition series, seminar, and related book.

The Gordon Matta-Clark collection—comprised of writings, photographs, films, correspondence, and selected artworks donated to the CCA by the Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark—is a fundamental repository of documents and materials connected to finished projects and unrealized pieces.

By taking the archive rather than the finished work as the project’s starting place, the CCA investigates a rich and revelatory source through which to explore working processes, research directions and critical readings of an artist’s practice whose visionary production has contributed in a crucial way to the de-construction of the idea itself of architecture from the early ‘70s till today. While Matta-Clark’s works were a clear product of his time and environment, the themes he addresses in relation to architecture and urbanism—neglect and speculation, distinctions between public and private spaces, questions of access, corporatization and gentrification, history and memory—are as relevant now as ever.

As part of the CCA’s broader strategy to use its holdings to constantly challenge and redefine the role of architecture today, the Out of the Box format invites three guest curators to explore a specific part of the collection and produce three exhibitions opening up unexplored avenues of inquiry and new critical interpretations.

On view between June 2019 and May 2020, the exhibitions are the tangible result of a research program with curators Yann Chateigné, Hila Peleg and Kitty Scott, who have been invited to produce different thematic interpretations contributing and expanding the study of the Matta-Clark’s practice, using the CCA collection as an active tool, with design by Belgium-based graphic designer Joris Kritis

The initiative is part of the CCA’s long-term objective to open its archives to critical investigations through exhibitions, publications and debates at the same time as the archive is in the process of being fully catalogued. This approach reflects the institution’s commitment to exploring alternative methods of scholarly research and critical thinking for the practice of architecture while supporting the emergence of new voices in the field.

In the first exhibition, opening today and titled Material Thinking, curator and art historian Yann Chateigné reflects on the North-American artist’s work through the lens of his highly diverse personal library and sheds light on lesser-known aspects of his practice.

Matta-Clark’s material thinking, stemming from a constellation of unexpected sources, brings together divergent areas of interest while still following particular lines of thought. Criss-crossing the histories of architecture, magic, cognitive science, network theory, anthropology, and ecology, the artist’s library invites an exploration of the hidden aspects of a continuous research process that is reflected in his considerable writing practice—notes, letters, statements—and the constant flux of visual investigations through photographs and drawings, as well as in sketches and drafts of concepts for proposed and unrealized projects.

Through a reversed process that doesn’t simply refer to the documentation of finished works, Chateigné’s research and exhibition reveals a new system of themes and references that lie behind the radical critique of architecture that the artist unfolded during his decade of works; rather than reifying his collaborative process and merely exploring the artist’s visual production, the show highlights the physical, psychological, and conceptual processes behind it.

Canadian Centre for Architecture
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