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)