Gordon Matta-Clark

New York, USA, 1943 - 1978
  • Date: 
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  • Media description: 
    16 mm film transferred to video
  • Duration: 
    43 min.
  • Colour: 
    Black and white
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This documentary shows images of the daily bustle in a restaurant located in SoHo, New York, called Food, which was founded in the Fall of 1971 by Gordon Matta-Clark, the dancer Caroline Goodden and other members of what would later become the collaborative group Anarchitecture – which also included Laurie Anderson, Tina Girouard, Suzanne Harris, Jene Highstein, Bernard Kirschenbaum and Richard Landry. This group, despite organising a few joint exhibitions, actually originated with the sole intention of meeting to exchange ideas and to debate. The notion of “anti- or non-architecture” was based on the use of space as a conceptual element, not only from an architectural dimension, but also in relation to social space. The intention was to take advantage of the holes, empty space, and unused places vindicated by work like Matta-Clark's, who was able to convert physical space in a very specific manner in his concept of Anarchitecture. The artist’s first foray in the field of building cuts was in this restaurant, adapting its structure to the needs of a space for artistic experimentation. The New York SoHo location was particularly apt for the aggressive modification of space, as artists took advantage of its abandoned industrial sites to transform them into workshops and residential spaces. According to Matta-Clark, his interest in working with buildings as objects came when he lived in a basement on Greene Street. At first he tried to create structures within the space, but later started to work with the space as a whole.
The restaurant worked as an artist's cooperative in which someone different would cook each day, yet it was not only a business as performances and meetings were also held there, turning it into a kind of Food Theatre. Food was an element with a strong presence in the performance art of the time – for example in the events of Fluxus, another of the collectives that were key to the regeneration of this Manhattan neighbourhood – and also very much related to alchemy, a discipline which Matta-Clark taught himself and discovered through Marcel Duchamp, whom he knew since childhood by way of his father, the Chilean painter Roberto Matta. What particularly interested him about alchemy was the transmutation of matter, a central theme of his work.

Lola Hinojosa