There has been a tendency in modern art lately – to astonish and to shock the viewers by any means possible. We do remember Young British Artists, Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. Honestly speaking – the audience is getting used to the feeling of being shocked, it has turned into quite usual feeling for our society. Violence, sexual content, death, intimidating honesty – all of these topics are no longer considered as freshly provocative in the world of art. But what is remaining? Well, we can name some provocative things – human body, plants and ropes. Yes, that’s right, these things proved to be quite a blast in terms of public peace. Tony Matelli showed us that we are still perplexed with the images of human body and many other topics. Well, not exactly with images, but with sculptures. So let’s find out what his oeuvre is about.
New York based artist uses quite usual objects and turn them into something unusual and puzzling even. Who would have imagined that a simple statue of a man could cause such a dissonance.
The sculpture was installed outside Wellesley College – an all women’s school. The work was highly debated and even was under the “paint attack”. It turned out that a provocative and daring issue nowadays is actually a depiction of a man. Tony Matelly used this amusing observation a lot.
He had created a number of works featuring human bodies in a variety of situations questioning gravity, our perception of a body or talking about the Original Sin. The latter is embodied in the work Fucked (couple), which (now you will get the irony in the title) reflects on Adam’s and Eve’s expulsion from paradise. We see them trying to deal with it, but it seems impossible.
Tony Matelli experiments with organic intervention in the art space. Plants look familiar and normal, but in a way Matelli exhibits them in the gallery makes regular plants seem so unexpected and unconventional.
His sculptures stimulate us to explore the world under different angle; to notice things that seem so regular to us that we stop seeing them. He makes the audience think about our position in this environment, that should not be taken for granted.