Comprised of five new sculptures and three new paintings, The Constant Now, Tony Matelli’s fifth exhibition at Andréhn-Schiptjenko, expands upon Matelli’s interest in the depiction of inner states of desolation, panic, ambivalence, despair and sometimes hope. A rich entry into the exhibition is Glass of Water (2010). As much a proverb as a work of art, Glass of Water is a sculpture of a pint of water, half full. The work is made of cast optical glass, and acts as a kind of lens that tightly focuses the central theme of the show: the indeterminable. It is a sculpture of a question without an answer.
Josh (2010), is an incredibly sensitive rendering of a man untethered from his surroundings, floating just inches off the ground. Despite his wide gaze, his body appears vacated, uninhabited. He is a shell. He is both the deserted island and the water lapping the shore.
The three paintings in the show appear to be simply neglected mirrors; dusty surfaces as registers of time, with traces of human touch. They are palimpsests of life, atomized unto a surface. A mark is made, time passes. Someone was here. Nearby, a bucket sits on the floor, filled with water and a few wishes (Untitled, 2009).
The Constant Now (2010), and Yesterday (2010) are the show’s anti-monuments. These sculptures appear perpetually verged on self-destruction, their attraction a result of their seemingly built-in failure. Fixed atop a cardboard box with a piece of chewing gum, a cigarette expels a ceaseless stream of smoke; The Constant Now is an absurd yet solemn vigil, an abandoned smoke signal. Yesterday, is an elaborate structure built from playing cards, beer cans, cold pizza and cigarette butts. Composed of polychrome bronze, Yesterday is at once lowly and sublime; it is a cairn to the future, a testament to the pursuance of collapse.
Tony Matelli (b 1971) lives and works in Brooklyn. His work can currently be seen in: Realismus; Das Abenteuer der Wirklichkeit, Kunsthalle Emden, Germany, N’importe Quoi, Musée d’art Contemporain de Lyon, France. Buy-Sellf, CAPC, Bordeaux, France, Don’t Piss on Me and Tell Me Its Raining, APEX Art, NYC Upcoming solo shows include the Falkenrot Preis exhibition at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany.
Text and images provided by Andréhn-Schiptjenko
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