POSTRmagazine is undoing the building
Just like Gordon Matta-Clark would have done it
In the midst of distributing our latest episodic pamphlet in front of the Royal Palace in Antwerp – which recently became a grotesque and gluttonous hideout for true chocolate devotees – we noticed that it will be a tough job to make people recognize the gruesome downfall of our arts and the policies surrounding them. If you wonder why it will be so hard, just ask the numerous greedy monsters that jumped up to us as soon as we started handing out the chocolate cookies that came with the magazine (or was it the other way around?). They must have thought we were part of a marketing stunt for this newly born Abaddon of consumption called The Chocolate Line. Some even considered grabbing multiple pieces of chunky chocolaty heaven by shamelessly assaulting our promo girl without even touching the magazine on offer. It’s all good though.
Yes, we are still slightly confused about why the cops were talking for almost an entire minute to the Nixon mask that stood backwards on the head of one of our editors, we had some authentic fun with the real fans that came by to say hello, the people who actually did recall the ICC and the giant banana. You know who you are. An extra shout out goes out to the mime who showed up to do her little nothing. You were the only artist that followed up our request to join this first effort to revolt for a credible cultural policy.
You don’t have to believe our word for it because we’ve got video to proove all this. Thanks to our partner in disobedience ThirdDigit.
Since you’ve probably read our report on the ICC’s downgrading by now, you will know that during the 1970’s and ‘80s, the Royal Palace and its surrounding area had become somewhat of a national Mecca of contemporary art. (POSTR#5: The Art Issue) Seriously, things were completely awesome a couple of decades ago if you look at what’s going on nowadays in the contemporary art scene. We’re not even going to discuss whether or not drawing a sketch in the back of a cab and then handing it to the driver as a tip/subject for financial speculation has any artistic relevance. We mean really awesome* as in the work of Gordon Matta-Clark, an artist whose name is inevitably connected to this whole story. Not only do I wish that I had discovered this man’s oeuvre at least half my lifespan ago, the fact that one of his greatest works – if not his magnum opus – was created, admired and later on brutally demolished on Belgian soil became one of the main motives in our quest to expose the many different ways in which our poor, undesirable species can get rid of things they really should hold on to.
* The oldest and original meaning of “awesome” is in fact “something which inspires awe”. Therefore in this context, the word is not to be confused with the commonly known ‘Bro, awesome!’ expression popularized and frequently used amongst early 21st century males.
Back in the beautiful year of 1977, Gordon Matta-Clark was invited to Antwerp by the former ICC curator Flor Bex for an extraordinary art project. At that time, Matta-Clark was already a world-renowned “anarchitect”, famous for his building cuts on abandoned structures in the Bronx (cfr: Bronx Floors). This series were actually “urban guerilla acts” in which he illegally entered abandoned apartment buildings and cut out parts of what would have been a floor on one level and a ceiling for the level below. He was able to gain legal access to various buildings in order to perform his interventions. His most iconic work consists of a house which he cut completely in half (Splitting, 1974). He and his collaborators removed part of the foundation on one side so that the affected half tilted back and transformed the opening into a dramatic wedge, widening from bottom to top. ‘By undoing a building there are many aspects of the social conditions against which I am gesturing’, the artist said in an interview one year before he jumped on a plane and came to Belgium where he was given the opportunity to work on empty premises on the Ernest Van Dijckkaai. Matta-Clark did an amazing job and since Antwerp Baroque painter Rubens was having his 400th birthday party that year, Matta-Clark decided to call his work ‘Office Baroque’. Gordon Matta-Clark died from cancer in 1978 at the age of 35.
Soon after his death, suggestions rose to preserve this magnificent piece of art as homage to the artist and even to integrate it as the core in a museum for contemporary art that would be built on the surrounding plots. The idea was received positively and as soon as the Gordon Matta-Clark Foundation popped up to gather the necessary funds, numerous artists at home and abroad donated a work to secure the Office Baroque or – if this would fail – to serve as the basic collection for the new museum of contemporary art. In spite of the many efforts, the only remaining architectural-sculptural work by Gordon Matta-Clark after his death was demolished just before the final agreement. The only thing remaining is a set of photographs that is now property of the MuHKA.
By undoing a building there are many aspects of the social conditions against which POSTRmagazine is gesturing. So let this be our last call to all artists to join us on May 8 during the delayed official opening weekend of The Chocolate Line and Café Imperial, during which we will give a clear demonstration of how we will undo a building in front of a band of notables, shoppers and chocolate addicts. We hope to see some artists perform as well, because even us non-artists feel like we just have to fight in favor of the protection of cultural diversity. See you there!
All initiatives that drop into our mailbox will be cordially hailed and professionally supported by the POSTR staff: firstname.lastname@example.org
More info on Gordon Matta-Clark:
Letter to the King
We received an e-mail from Leo Copers, the Belgian artist who’s “invaded” POSTRmagazine’s Art Issue, containing the original letter that was sent to King Baudouin I in 1968 and a new letter that was sent to King Albert II now. Together with a few other artists he decided to send a letter to King Albert II to let him know they are not pleased with the way things were concocted above the heads of everybody. We’re publishing the hand written original letter from 1968 as well as the new letter to the King.