Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chile Journal III: Matta

The Chilean artist Roberto Matta lived from l911 to 2002. His work is on display at the Museo de Belles Artes in Santiago, a structure whose auspicious entry way with its high glass and steel ceiling recall the Belle Epoque train stations of Europe. Paris was a city where Matta lived intermittently and his midlife paintings like "The Art of Think" (1957) show the influence of Picasso and the cubists, though he was literally painting cubes in this essay on imagination which features abstract geometric elements in a three-dimensional space. Would it be fair to say that Matta’s abstract and surrealist works were the painterly equivalent of the magical realism of Marquez and other Latin American writers? During the period when Allende became the first democratically elected president of Italy, Matta’s work on canvases covered with burlap, cement and even bits of hay took on a far more figurative caste. "El Ojo Del Alma es Una Estrella Rose", the eye of the soul is a red star exhibits an exuberance about human possibility. Like Phillip Guston, Matta started out an abstractionist while moving into a more figurative style that included a distinctly didactic element, resonating his strong opposition to the dehumanizing effects of modernity. His “Ojo con los Desarrolladores,” eye on progress is a futuristic world devoid of men whose providence could easily have been Chaplin’s Modern Times. In one of the panels of a cartoonish work Matta did late in his career Matta writes “cada hombre Lleva en si mismo la revolucion come el Huevo contieva la vida,” everyone carries within him his own revolution as an egg contains life.

1 comment:

  1. a lovely parapraxis, "Allende as president of "Italy"?????


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