Tony Matelli

Tony Matelli (1971, Chicago, IL, USA.)
Lives and works in New York, NY, USA.

Tony Matelli studied at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design before completing an M.F.A. at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan, in 1995.

In the early stages of his artistic career, Matelli worked as an assistant to Jeff Koons, approaching this experience with a fresh perspective. He delved into pressing contemporary issues while maintaining a serious commitment to the quality of his art and meticulous attention to detail.

Matelli has gained recognition for his hyper-realistic artworks, which utilize various techniques and materials. His sculptures portray life-sized human figures, animals, plants, and everyday objects in unsettling or unexpected scenarios, evoking both humor and unease. Striking a delicate balance between absurdity and humor, his works provoke existential questions and challenge conventional boundaries. By defying gravity and manipulating optics, Matelli offers viewers a renewed perspective on familiar objects and appearances, transforming reality into something novel.

Each of Matelli’s artworks carries a provocative element, serving as a protest against established norms and conventions. Described as anti-monuments, his sculptures redefine the tradition of American hyperrealism, exploring themes of loneliness, vulnerability, resilience, and resistance against adverse circumstances.

While capturing profound emotional responses in his work, Matelli approaches them with irony, acknowledging the absurdity of the world around him. He remains determined to question the seemingly unshakable and employs visual forms that convey nuanced philosophical concepts.

“The realism of my work was never the point. My approach to object making has always been about clarity and precision. The depictions are meant to be fairly seamless. I want someone to initially experience the subject rather than ‘reading’ it. I want them absorbed in the work. Therefore, I feel the presentation of the idea needs be fairly neutral or even artless.”
– Tony Matelli

Selected public and private collections:

ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum (Aarhus, Denmark)
Arken Museum of Modern Art (Ishøj, Denmark)
Bergen Kunstmuseum (Bergen, Norway)
Bonnier Collection (Stockholm, Sweden)
The Davis Museum (Wellesley, MA, USA)
Fundacion La Caixa (Madrid, Spain)
FRAC Bordeaux (France)
Mudam Luxembourg (Luxembourg)
Musee d’Arte Contemporain (Montreal, Canada)
Museum Ludwig (Cologne, Germany)
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Wellington, New Zealand)
Museum Voorlinden (Wassenaar, Netherlands)
Philbrook Museum of Art (Tulsa, OK, USA)

Tony Matelli

  • Tony Matelli - Josh

    Silicone, hair, fiberglass, steel, clothes
    45 x 180 x 90 cm

  • Tony Matelli - Old Enemy, New Victim

    Old Enemy, New Victim
    Polyester, silicone, polyurethane, oil paint, hair
    150 x 200 x 170 cm

  • Tony Matelli - Fucked (Couple)

    Fucked (Couple)
    Polyester, silicone, polyurethane, wood, steel, oil paint, hair
    213 x 400 x 400 cm

    Tony Matelli, Uppsala konstmuseum, Sweden: Oct - Nov ‘08
    Create Your Own Museum Gary Tatintsian Gallery, Moscow. Jan - Feb ‘07
    Tony Matelli. Survival, Gary Tatintsian Gallery. Sep - Nov ‘08
    Mutated Reality - Gary Tatintsian Gallery, Moscow. Nov '15 - Mar '16
    Realisms - State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia. Jun' - Sep' 2016

  • Tony Matelli - Fuck’d (Human version)

    Fuck’d (Human version)
    Silicone, polyurethane foam, acrylic paint, tools, mixed media
    218 x 155 x 142 cm

  • Tony Matelli - Lost & Sick

    Lost & Sick
    Epoxy resin, plaster and paint
    200.7 x 254 x 221 cm

    Small World: Dioramas in Contemporary Art. Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego. 23 Jan – 30 Apr 2000
    To Be Real. Yerba Buena Center for the Visual Arts, San Francisco 1997

    To Be Real. By R. de Guzman, San Francisco, 1997
    A Fresh Hell: Tony Matelli's Morality Tales of Catastrophes. By R. Jones, Siksi Playlist Spring, 1997. pp. 10 - 11
    Small World: Dioramas in Contemporary Art. By T. Kamps, San Diego, 2000. page 34 and cover
    Tony Matelli. By L. Fischman, New York, 2003. pp. 17 - 18, 44, 72

  • Tony Matelli - Family

    Enamel on mirror
    152 X 243,8 cm

  • Tony Matelli  - Meat head. Collage. (Diptych)

    Meat head. Collage. (Diptych)
    Photographic collage, foil, cardboard
    116 x 79 cm – each part
    Tony Matelli. Survival. Gary Tatintsian Gallery, Moscow: Sep - Nov 2008
    Summa Summarum. NCCA: Jan - Feb 2010
    Dada Fest. NCCA: June 2016
    Tony Matelli. Survival. Gary Tatintsian Gallery, 2008. part 2/ pp. 78-91

  • Tony Matelli - Arrangement

    Painted bronze
    71 X 36 X 36 cm

  • Tony Matelli - Rope

    Silicone and stainless steel (brown)
    240 x 70 x 50 cm

    Olaf Breuning, Tony Matelli, John Miller. Gary Tatintsian Gallery, Moscow. Mar - June '14
    Mystifiers, NCCA, Moscow. Feb - Mar '16

  • Tony Matelli - Rope

    Silicone and stainless steel (blue)
    150 x 150 x 19 cm

    Olaf Breuning, Tony Matelli, John Miller. Gary Tatintsian Gallery, Moscow. Mar - June '14
    Mystifiers, NCCA, Moscow. Feb - Mar '16