Tony Matelli is one of the brightest and most promising American artists today. His work displays an uncanny fusion of conceptual clarity and technical breadth. Many issues of his generation—alienation, ambivalence, and decadence—manifest themselves directly in Matelli’s affecting work.
His sculptures possess a concision and frankness that can simultaneously seem crass and profound. Matelli explains: “All of my sculpture are in a state of compromise. They are lost, wounded, tangled and shitty. This is everyone’s general state at one point or another. It certainly has been mine. These things need to be talked about simply.” Each of his works possesses a distinct provocation; a protest against playing by the universally accepted rules or conventions that exist as an inseparable part of the world that surrounds us.
Matelli’s perceived pessimism is tempered with humor and vitality, embodying the sharp, personal experiences of living through the most vivid emotional states. These are integrated with an ironical attitude towards himself and towards the absurdity of everyday life. Matelli creates artwork that is as complex and potent, as joyous and tragic as the emotions and conflicts that inspire them.
Tony Matelli’s first solo exhibition in Moscow will include four major works. Fucked Couple; Old Enemy, New Victim; Sleepwalker, and Double Meat Head. These works span Matelli’s range of conceptual interests and technical virtuosity. A couple in love perseveres through psychopathic adversity while emaciated chimps overthrow an overfed oppressor. A woman wanders aimlessly asleep through the space, while nearby a self-portrait of the artist made of fresh meats decays into a mortal slime. Matelli sees the world as a constant state of struggle, decay, and even hope; all of those things collide here.
Tony Matelli has participated in numerous exhibitions in prestigious museums and galleries around the world, including:
Palais de Tokyo, Paris
P.S.1. MOMA, New York
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Kunst-Werke Institute of Contemporary Art, Berlin
Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati
Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin, New Zealand
Georg Kolbe Museum, Berlin