Le Corbusier, Jean Genet, Gordon Matta-Clark, Roberto Rossellini

Le Corbusier, Jean Genet, Gordon Matta-Clark, Roberto Rossellini

Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)

Gordon Matta-Clark, Office Baroque (documentation of the action Office Baroque, carried out in 1977 in Antwerp, Belgium), 1977.*

June 7, 2012

MACBA summer

Le Corbusier and Jean Genet
in the Raval 

Gordon Matta-Clark 
Portfolio Office Baroque

Roberto Rossellini
Filming Beaubourg

7 June–21 October 2012

Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)
Plaça dels Àngels, 1
08001 Barcelona


Demolition as leitmotiv
The MACBA Collection offers a new presentation of its holdings and recent acquisitions. The exhibition is structured in three chapters with an underlying theme based on the relation between artistic practice and the urban condition. Le Corbusier and Jean Genet inspire the first part, centred round a diorama of the Macià Plan, 1934. The project was aimed at an urban renovation of the centre of Barcelona. In contrast, Jean Genet, who wandered the same streets in the old town soon after Le Corbusier, found a great deal in common with the most abject aspects of the place. His novel, The Thief’s Journal, 1949, is an account of his time in the city. Therefore, two aspects of modernity—one associated with rationalism and committed to physical and moral cleansing, the other exploring the informal and marginal—coincided in time and space in the Barcelona of the 1930s.

The second part is centred round Office Baroque, 1977, one of the last ‘building cuts’ by Gordon Matta-Clark. The portfolio Office Baroque includes forty-four black-and-white photographs documenting a great number of the artist’s actions during the seventies. The preparations for Office Baroque suggest that the artist intended to excavate the inside of a building at 1 Ernest van Dijckkaai, opposite the Steen Castle, one of the main tourist sights in Antwerp. Matta-Clark wanted to remove part of the façade to obtain the form of a quarter of a sphere. Thanks to the deposit of the collector Harold Berg, MACBA has become an institution of reference in the work of this artist. One of the most famous ‘solid light sculptures’ by Anthony McCall, Line Describing a Cone, 1973, an essential reference for Matta-Clark’s work Conical Intersect, 1975, acts as a prologue to this chapter.

The third part closes this itinerary by recovering a film by Roberto Rossellini, commissioned by the French government to celebrate the opening of the Pompidou Centre. The film is presented together with a series of documents, seen here for the first time, showing the filmmaker during the process of filming, plus images of his participation in the Cannes Film Festival not long before his death. Rossellini used the classical equipment of cinematographic production to describe a newly-minted institution, literally under siege by the hordes of visitors. Jacques Grandclaude, producer of the project, had the venerable filmmaker surrounded by young professionals belonging to the Communauté, a production company born out of the events of May ’68. Two documents came out of this initiative, Rossellini au travail and Le Colloque de Cannes.

Text published under a Creative Commons license (Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported – CC BY-SA 3.0)


Tuesday 12 June, 7pm
Round table
Reconstructing Office Baroque
Florent Bex, Honorary Director, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst (M HKA), Antwerp and former director of the Internationaal Cultureel Centrum (ICC), Antwerp
Cherica Convents, author and director of the film Office Baroque
François Verresen, Gordon Matta-Clark’s assistant in Office Baroque
Harold Berg
Lucie Bausart (to be confirmed)
, curator of the Middelheim Museum, Antwerp
Carles Guerra, Chief Curator, MACBA

MACBA Auditorium. Free admission. Limited seating.
With simultaneous translation.

Wednesday 27 June, 6:30pm
Special tour with commentary by Carles Guerra
Admission with Museum ticket.
Museum galleries. Limited places.

Daily guided tours
(included in the admission fee)

More information www.macba.cat and Twitter.

MACBA hours: Weekdays, 11–7:30pm
(25 June–24 September, 11–8pm)

Sat, 10–8pm, Sun & public holidays, 10–3pm

*Image above:
Gordon Matta-Clark, Office Baroque (documentation of the action Office Baroque, carried out in 1977 in Antwerp, Belgium), 1977. MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation. Long-term loan of Harold Berg.
© Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark, VEGAP, Barcelona, 2012. Photo: Vanessa Miralles.

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Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)
June 7, 2012

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