AVA (All Visual Arts) is proud to present the first major retrospective of French artist Charles Matton.
Thirty undiscovered boites or enclosures will be installed in a specially constructed labyrinth in Kings
From 1985 until his death in 2008, Charles Matton created mixed media works which defy easy
classification. Theatrical, atmospheric, meticulously constructed, his small scale interiors are housed
in see through boxes with glass fronts.
The miniature spaces represent real world interiors and revisited memories from Matton’s own life, as
well as other recognizable places such as Francis Bacon’s studio, or the library of his close friend
Jean Baudrillard. The artist also fabricated interiors from his imagination, intended to recreate
cherished sensations, such as the loneliness felt in an abandoned hotel corridor or the intimacy of a
forgotten and disused library.
Matton and his assistant painstakingly hand-built, painted and sculpted every visible detail to 1/7
scale, from fading wallpaper to broken light sockets. Many of his enclosures of famous artist’s
studios: Vermeer, Bacon, Rembrandt, Velasquez, Giacometti, Hopper and Courbet are such direct
representations that viewing these boites is almost like making a journey through time. Matton
reconstructed the room in which Paul Bowles died as well as Freud’s study, with his personal art
collection displayed exactly as it would have been on his desk in 1910, lit by the wintry sun of a
As time passed, subsequent boites started to take on a more poetic quality. For the literal encounter to
be complete for the viewer, the boxes needed to be not just how something looked on a particular day,
but how they felt. To do this, Matton sometimes used one-way mirrors and videos to add hypnotic
optical illusions. Poisson d’Or depicts a music room with a grand piano, on which is projected the
ghostly image of a young man performing Debussy’s Goldfish. The player is Matton’s son Jules, an
accomplished classical pianist.
‘Magic boxes and metaphysical boxes, I’d like people to enter my boxes as they go round an
Such effects seem derived from Matton’s experience in film making, which he never abandoned. In
New York University Club Library, Matton used double sided mirrors. These magic mirrors play with
the involvement of the observer, who despite looking into a mirror within these miniaturised worlds,
cannot see themselves. These Vampire boxes were the last step to fully integrating the viewer.
‘More than a voyeur’s delight, each room is a triumph of theatre’
Grace Glueck, New York Times
NOTES TO EDITORS:
About Charles Matton
A painter, sculptor, draftsman, filmmaker and photographer in his native France, Matton initially
used these interiors as working tools. Then, once discovered and exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo in
1987, they came to the forefront of his practice. Amongst his circle of friends, including the
philosopher Jean Baudrillard, he was recognized immediately as an incredible talent.
About All Visual Arts
All Visual Arts (AVA) is a new hybrid arts enterprise founded by art expert Joe La Placa and Mike
Platt in October 2008. AVA’s goal is to build a major collection of contemporary art by representing
and commissioning new work by today’s most exciting international developing artists.