Tony Matelli

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

Tony Matelli is an American sculptor famous for his hyperrealistic works that reflect the subtle and ever-elusive combination of concept and contemporary technology. He received BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design and MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1995.

Matelli’s work reaches beyond the boundaries of political correctness and the social conduct code. Every of his objects incorporates a provocation, a protest against the accepted rules and conventions that exist in the surrounding world. His sculptures can be described as anti-monuments, that re-interprete the tradition of hyperrealism in American sculpture and focuse on loneliness, defenselessness and, at the same time, resilience and resistance to unfortunate circumstances.

Matelli’s famous work “Sleepwalker” was first publicly installed outside Wellesley College, hosting a concurrent exhibition of his work at Wellesley’s Davis Museum. Public reaction to sculpture was similar to that of some people’s to Anthony Gormley’s figure placed near a ledge on the Empire State Building being called in to emergency services as a jumper. The college students claimed that the sculpture produced apprehension, fear, and triggering thoughts about sexual assault on the all-women’s campus. In 2016, New York’s High Line hosted Sleepwalker’s next major public debut. This time, the context was strikingly different: There was a celebration about the piece being up there. Sleepwalker was surrounded by tourists taking pictures with the sculpture. Turning into a hit on social media, in two years, Sleepwalker had transitioned from an alleged menace to a selfie prop.

‘What they see in the sculpture is not in the sculpture…’
In a female version of Sleepwalker (2009) the emotions to the statue are being pushed aside in favor of having a discussion about art, a question that Matelli called ‘issues of modesty and Victorian ideas people have about the human body’. Why did the nude male Sleepwalker create such angst, whereas nude female version has presumably not? This reaction can also indicate a larger problem: Why a half-nude man sculpture inspires such fear when the woman in her most natural appearance causes the sense of insecurity and defenselessness. What is most threatening about Sleepwalker is its reminder of how vulnerable and exposed we often are when we lose the illusion control of what is happening around us.

Tony Matelli’s works have been on display in a large number of prestigious museums and art institutions all over the world:
Mudam (Luxembourg), Museum Ludwig (Cologne), Altoids Collection. New Museum (New York), FLAG Art Foundation (New York), ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum (Denmark), Musee d’arte Contemporain (Montreal), Fundacion La Caixa (Madrid), Akzo Nobel Art Foundation (Amsterdam), Bergen Kunstmuseum (Bergen), FRAC (Bordeaux), Museum of New Zealand (Wellington), Skive New Art Museum (Copenhagen), Uppsala Konstmusuem (Uppsala).

Tony Matelli

  • Tony Matelli - Josh

    Josh
    2010
    Silicone, hair, fiberglass, steel, clothes
    45 x 180 x 90 cm

  • Tony Matelli - Old Enemy, New Victim

    Old Enemy, New Victim
    2007
    Polyester, silicone, polyurethane, oil paint, hair
    150 x 200 x 170 cm

  • Fucked (Couple)

    Fucked (Couple)
    2005
    Polyester, silicone, polyurethane, wood, steel, oil paint, hair
    213 x 400 x 400 cm

    Exhibited
    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)
    2005
    Silicone, polyurethane foam, acrylic paint, tools, mixed media
    218 x 155 x 142 cm

  • Ideal Woman

    Ideal Woman
    1998 - 1999
    Polyvinyl acetate, human hair, oil paint and mixed media
    122 x 300 x 300 cm

    Exhibition
    We can do it! Gary Tatintsian Gallery: Jan - May 2005

    Catalogue
    We can do it! Gary Tatintsian Gallery, 2005. page 35

  • Tony Matelli - Sleepwalker

    Sleepwalker
    2008
    Epoxy, oil paint, hair
    162 x 55 x 80 cm

  • Tony Matelli - Lost & Sick

    Lost & Sick
    1996
    Epoxy resin, plaster and paint
    200.7 x 254 x 221 cm

    Exhibitions
    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

    Literature:
    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

    Family
    2014
    Enamel on mirror
    152 X 243,8 cm

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

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

  • Tony Matelli - Arrangement

    Arrangement
    2013
    Painted bronze
    71 X 36 X 36 cm

  • Weeds

    Weeds
    2007
    Bronze, vellum, paint and wire
    52 x 30 x 20 cm

    Exhibition
    Bad Planet. Gary Tatintsian Gallery, Moscow. Apr - May 2008
    Mystifiers, NCCA, Moscow. Feb - Mar '16

  • Tony Matelli - Weed #455

    Weed #455
    2019
    Painted Bronze
    58,4 x 58,4 х 25,4 cm

  • Tony Matelli - Rope

    Rope
    2014
    Silicone and stainless steel (brown)
    240 x 70 x 50 cm

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

  • Tony Matelli - Rope

    Rope
    2014
    Silicone and stainless steel (blue)
    150 x 150 x 19 cm

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