Gordon Matta-Clark and Anu Vahtra at the Kumu Art Museum

Art Museum of Estonia
Kumu Art Museum
Press release


Gordon Matta-Clark and Anu Vahtra at the Kumu Art Museum

On Thursday, 21 February at 6 pm, the Kumu Art Museum will open its Great Hall for the joint exhibition of the US artist Gordon Matta-Clark, who became famous for his radical urban spatial practices, and the Estonian artist Anu Vahtra. The exhibition is called Gordon Matta-Clark: Anarchitect. Anu Vahtra: Completion through removal.

The work of Gordon Matta-Clark (1943–1978) fundamentally changed our understanding of the role of architecture in everyday life. He studied architecture at Cornell University (1962–1968) and became one of the central figures in the New York art scene of the 1970s. Matta-Clark is best known for site-specific installations in abandoned houses scheduled to be demolished in New York, Paris, Antwerp and elsewhere. He revealed the chaos behind the seeming orderliness of the urban space and exposed the conflict between living spaces and architectural structures. Matta-Clark belonged to the artistic community gathered around the alternative art space at 112 Greene Street and the restaurant FOOD in SoHo, and conceptualised the idea of “anarchitecture” (a conflation of the words “anarchy” and “architecture”). “Anarchitecture” referred to the creative practice that paid attention to the shifts, voids and non-places in the urban space. The exhibition includes photos and films of Matta-Clark’s performances and installations.

Gordon Matta-Clark. Bronx Floor: Boston Road. 1973 / Anu Vahtra. Completion through removal. 2019

Anu Vahtra (1982) is an Estonian artist who has studied photography at the Estonian Academy of Arts and at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, and is the winner of the 2015 Köler Prize Grand Prix. Vahtra is interested in spatial and architectural environments, including specific aspects of gallery and museum spaces. Through subtle changes, her installations reveal the otherwise overlooked aspects of spaces. At the Kumu exhibition, Vahtra has conceived an installational environment for Matta-Clark’s works based on the design of the preceding exhibition in the Great Hall, Wild Souls. In the Kumu courtyard, Anu Vahtra has created an installation that recalls the former limestone quarry at the site of the museum and enters into a dialogue with Matta-Clark’s work. The exhibition additionally includes a slide show of the architect Jüri Okas’s photo series The Concise Dictionary of Modern Architecture (1974–1986) and the documentation of Anu Vahtra’s performative walk Open House Closing. A Walk at the Performa Biennial in 2017 in New York.

On Thursday, 21 February at 4:30 pm, before the opening of the exhibition, Sergio Bessa and Jessamyn Fiore will give a guided curator tour in English.

At the opening, we will be presenting a book accompanying the exhibition, entitled Short Term Eternity, published by Lugemik in collaboration with the Art Museum of Estonia.

The book brings together the works of Gordon Matta-Clark, Jüri Okas and Anu Vahtra, describing the connections of ideas and practices in the art world from a non-hierarchical perspective.

Editors: Anu Allas, Anu Vahtra and Indrek Sirkel
Texts: Hanno Soans, Carl-Dag Lige, Anu Allas and Anu Vahtra
Graphic design: Indrek Sirkel

The exhibition has been organised by the Bronx Museum of the Arts in cooperation with the Art Museum of Estonia.

Curators: Sergio Bessa (The Bronx Museum of the Arts), Jessamyn Fiore (the estate of Gordon Matta-Clark) and Anu Allas (Kumu Art Museum)
Exhibition design: Anu Vahtra
Graphic design: Indrek Sirkel

The exhibition will remain open until 8 June 2019.

The press album is available here.

With the support of: the Henry Luce Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Blue Rider Group at Morgan Stanley, David Zwirner, the estate of Gordon Matta-Clark, a programme of the J. M. Kaplan Fund and the Cultural Endowment of Estonia

Thank you: AVA Ekspress, Siim Vahur & Artproof, Lieven Lahaye, Martin Rünk, Mati Schönberg and the Exhibition Department of the Art Museum of Estonia

Public programmes:

Wed. 06.03 at 6 pm: a Kumu documentary. Crossed Words: Matta-Clark Friends (2014)
Fri. 29.03 at 12 pm: a tour of the exhibition with Mark Wigley, an architect and the author of the book Cutting Matta-Clark (Lars Müller Publishers 2018), in English
Thu. 25.04 at 6 pm: an artist’s talk: Anu Vahtra in dialogue with Paul Kuimet (in Estonian)
Sat. 11.05 at 4 pm: an evening discussion “What to do with architecture that has become obsolete?” (moderated by Kaja Pae, in Estonian)
Wed. 22.05 at 6 pm: a Kumu documentary. My Summer 77 with Gordon Matta-Clark (1977–2012) and A Jacob’s Ladder, Remembering Gordon Matta-Clark (2013)
Sat. 01.06. Finissage: at 2 pm: a tour of Lasnamäe, in Estonian and Russian; at 4 pm: a talk about the exhibition, a pop-up café and much more.

Additional information:

Anu Allas, PhD
Tel. +372 602 6056
Kumu Art Museum

Liia Rebane, PhD
Communication Manager
Tel +372 5681 6706