Journal of Surrealism and the Americas, Vol 8, No 1 (2014)

'Le centre du milieu': Matta and the Exploding Dome

Denise Birkhofer


Matta’s debt to the field of architecture has been widely acknowledged, stemming from his early education and training. While this aspect of Matta’s life and work has been well examined in relation to his early years, the present study explores Matta’s later appropriation of architectural models to facilitate his exploration of fragmented or exploding structures. A group of graphic works from 1943 and 1968 based on diagrams by architects Buckminster Fuller and Bernard Kirschenbaum will be considered as case studies of the artist’s engagement with one of the seminal structures of twentieth-century architecture: the geodesic dome. Matta's compositions based on these structures depict fragmented universes which appear to be in a state of violently coming together or breaking apart.

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