Galerie Michael Haas

Charles Matton
selected works

On the occasion of the Gallery Weekend in Berlin, the Galerie Michael Haas will open its exhibition with works, or rather boxes, by Charles Matton. The boxes seduce the viewer into an idiosyncratic, imaginary and to some extent very bizarre world. Matton was a filmmaker, drawer, painter and sculptor. With the feature film “Rembrandt”, starring Klaus Maria Brandauer, he succeeded in making one of the most successful feature films of the nineties about a painter.


Intellectual parallels can by all means be drawn between Matton and Rembrandt. Both perceived painting to represent the conscious exploration of how life can be decoded. It is this sheer irresolvable task in particular that provided the impetus for their unceasing progression and creative power. Matton was also concerned with portraying the concentrated energy of life and making it visible in his work.

He was a legend in the seething Paris art scene around 1968. With his feature films, drawings and freehand illustrations in the seventies he advanced, along with Jean-Paul Goude and the sociologist and philosopher Jean Baudrillard, to become one of the founders of new visual communication in the postmodernist age. Charles Matton and Jean Baudrillard were not only friends but were also connected through their intellectual complicity. In many respects, one can read Matton’s work as a kind of artistic parallel analysis of Baudrillard’s philosophy.


How can reality be portrayed? Matton posed this question again and again and his preoccupation with it characterises the high quality of his works. The first boxes were created in the late seventies and were a further attempt to seek an answer to his question. Initially an instrument of support for photographic and painterly projects, they developed their own artistic independence and autonomy. The puppet theatre-like boxes show rooms such as Alberto Giacometti’s studio, a library, bedroom and imagined spaces with bizarre sculptures. The viewers immerse themselves in this microcosmos and are both perplexed and fascinated by the attention to detail and the perfection of the replicas and the objects inside them. Matton has succeeded in leading the viewer into a three-dimensional “paradise of the imagination”. Charles Matton was born in 1933 in Paris, where he also died in 2008.