It’s a small world

Ever wondered what the inside of Bacon, Freud or Giacometti’s studios looked like? Well, so has French artist Charles Matton, and over his artistic career he scrupulously created Borrower-size mock-ups so we need wonder no more.

Alberto Giacometti’s Studio, 1987
Alberto Giacometti’s Studio, 1987

Matton worked on this series of intricate mini-rooms from the 1980s until his death in 2008, recreating the studios of some of the world’s most famous painters and sculptors  alongside some imaginary pieces created entirely from his imagination.

The models are going on show in London’s All Visual Arts Gallery next week, in an exhibition of 30 ‘boites’, or boxes, that will be installed in a labyrinthine space in Kings Cross.

Francis Bacon’s Studio, 1987
Francis Bacon’s Studio, 1987

The viewer gains an insight to these tiny worlds, seeing them through a glass front window to these painstakingly created visual vignettes, and providing  a snapshot of Matton’s ability to relive sensations felt in certain rooms or spaces through his work.

The Painter’s Studio, Sue on Sofa, 2000 ( Lucian Freud)
The Painter’s Studio, Sue on Sofa, 2000 ( Lucian Freud)

These include the studios of Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud and, tellingly, Matton’s close friend Baudrillard, the French post-structuralist cultural theorist who wrote extensively on the ideas of simulacra and simulation.

Sigmind Freud’s Study 1, 2002
Sigmind Freud’s Study 1, 2002

Each work was meticulously built by hand by Matton and his assistant, each to a 1/7 scale. Every miniscule detail is accounted for: Freud’s study includes his personal art collection displayed exactly as it would have been on his desk in 1910.

Studio of a Contemporary Sculptor III, 2004
Studio of a Contemporary Sculptor III, 2004

However, rather than forming clinical representations of these enclaves, Matton was determined to also capture the feel and emotion inherent in these spaces, using tools such as one-way mirrors and videos to add eerie depth to their unpeopled scenes.

Charles Matton: Enclosures runs from 9 September – 7 October at All Visual Arts, 2 Omega Place, London, N1

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