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New Left Review 27, May-June 2004


Tony Wood on Corinne Diserens, ed., Gordon Matta-Clark. Dissections of architectural space in the 60s and 70s, and their meaning in contemporary criticism. Did Matta-Clark’s disappearing art works leave behind a radical grin?

TONY WOOD

VANISHING ACTS

Gordon Matta-Clark is known primarily for his ‘building cuts’—geometric lines and sections sliced out of structures slated for demolition—but his practice ranged across almost the entire territory of 70s avant-garde art: from site-specific work to performance, from process art to film. Common to the vast bulk of his œuvre, however, is the notion of impermanence, of things doomed to decay or disappear: trays full of mouldering organic material, meals made entirely of bones, incisions into houses that were soon to be razed. As he himself put it in 1973, his works were ‘designed for collapse, failure, absence and memory’.

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