Gordon Matta-Clark (1943-1978)

Matta-Clark’s work is inspirational - the relationship between private and public space, the creation of sculpted voids, destructuring existing abandoned sites, interventions, the mystery of what is behind, ambiguous spaces, deconstructivist architecture.

His work tells a story of the previously inhabited spaces and of its inhabitants by exposing the layers of the building - he has been described as an urban archaeologist.

Matta Clark broke into abandoned buildings in NYC and cut large, geometrically shaped pieces out of walls and floors, sometimes slits through a whole building. This opened up the spaces to create unexpected views, sometimes through the whole building, plus exposing the hidden constructions and layers of the building. This created a play on light, with the light penetration creating sculpted forms allowing for a heightened sensory experience when in the building and new ways to perceive space.

I also like the realism of the work compared to a work being in a museum and Matta-Clark’s use of photography not only as a documentation of the physical pieces but also as an artwork itself.

Concical Intersect 1975
Schematic for Conical Intersect
Splitting 1974
Splitting 1974

Matta-Clark’s work informed and inspired me for one of my university projects:

self storage Stop. Stay. Preserve

An urban public space to waste useful time. It uses the existing façade and create a ruins-like façade with sculpted void-like entrances. These are intended to blur the interior and the exterior.
The space endeavours to create a journey for the user, a place to slow down, engage with the space, work out where to enter, which direction to take, derive. An ambiguous space for the self - situationist concept.
There are glimpses through framed views attempting to convey the dada concept in which something is behind there.
Its relationship to the site is that the existing site is a high traffic, transient corridor for pedestrians, yet full of disconnection not only between people but also between the man-made and natural forms. There is a sense of encroachment by tall, grey ugly buildings and cement and concrete. All of this contributes to a confused sensory perception.
self storage design intention was to counteract the encroachment by opening up the space, using only the existing façade and opening up the inside with an internal central void and the use of sculpted cut out voids in the façade and second level walkways.
It counteracts the disconnection to place by slowing the user down, making one think about which entrance/ exit to take, thus a sense of arrival, what to do when inside.
Engage the senses through the use of, for example: an internal central garden for scent; play on light through the use of voids; touch through the use of swivel concrete push doors and benches.

It is an un-doing of the existing building as per Matta-Clarks philosophy.

self storage - A3 paper with designs on front & back, designed to fold up and has cut out holes

By un-doing a building there are many aspects of the social condition against which I am gesturing: to open a state of enclosure which had been preconditioned not only by physical necessity but by the industry that profligates suburban and urban boxes as a context for insuring a passive, isolated consumer—a virtually captive audience. 

Most importantly Matta Clark's site specific artwork has a sense of humour yet conveys social issues and is a vehicle for his ideology. It is full of puns which attracts me.