Charles Matton at Omega Place, London


Charles Matton: Enclosures

2 Omega Place - Open until 7th October 2011

AVA (All Visual Arts) is proud to present the first major retrospective of French artist Charles Matton. Thirty eight undiscovered boxes will be installed in Kings Cross. From 1985 until his death in 2008, Charles Matton created mixed media works  which defy easy  classification. Theatrical, atmospheric, meticulously constructed, his small scale interiors are housed in see through boxes with glass fronts.

The miniature spaces represent real world interiors and revisited memories from Matton’s own life, as well as other recognizable places.  The artist also fabricated interiors from his imagination, intended to recreate cherished sensations, such as the loneliness felt in an abandoned hotel corridor or the intimacy of a forgotten and disused library.

Matton and his assistant painstakingly handbuilt, painted and sculpted every visible detail to 1/7 scale, from fading wallpaper to broken light sockets. Some of  his  enclosures of  famous artist’s studios; such as Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti. They are such direct representations that viewing these  boxes is almost  like making  a  journey  through time. Matton reconstructed the room  in which Paul Bowles died as well as Freud’s  study, with his personal art collection displayed exactly as it would have been on his desk in 1910, lit by  the wintry  sun of  a February afternoon.

As time passed, subsequent boites started to take on a more poetic quality. For the literal encounter to be complete for the viewer, the boxes needed to be not just how something looked on a particular day,but how they felt. To do this, Matton sometimes used one way mirrors and videos to add hypnotic optical illusions.  Poisson d’Or depicts a music room with a grand piano, on which is projected the ghostly image of  a  young man performing Debussy’s  Goldfish. The player is Matton’s son Jules, an accomplished classical pianist.

‘Magic boxes and metaphysical boxes, I’d like people to enter my boxes as they go round an exhibition’.

Such effects seem derived from Matton’s experience in film making, that he always returned to. In New York University Club Library, Matton used double sided mirrors. These magic mirrors play with the involvement of the observer, who despite looking into a mirror within these miniaturised worlds, cannot see themselves.  These Vampire boxes were the last step to fully integrating the viewer.


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