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John Matturri: Ghostlier Demarcations

The Phatory
618 East 9th Street, between B and C, 212-777-7922
East Village / Lower East Side
March 30 - April 30, 2006
Reception: Thursday, March 30, 7 - 9 PM
Web Site

In Ghostlier Demarcations, the city is Matturri’s subject in the truest sense of the word, and it is the most obedient of subjects, submitting, seemingly compliantly, to his will for order. Commonplace, ignored, and neglected objects and scenes are re-imagined to fit within the grid of his imagination, erasing, along with context, the confusion, disorder, and tedium of the everyday. These virtuoso photographs arrange the world coherently, but in this rearrangement is a shadow of immanent collapse; just outside the frame lies chaos. Matturri’s prints reveal and rescue fragments of a world, created at the collision of future and past in a momentary present, the suggestive objects reassembling themselves to outline the structures of a more perfectly imagined, though not entirely stable, world. The vision is transitory, the images transformative and suggestive. As Wallace Stevens wrote in The Idea of Order at Key West, the photographs are works “of ourselves and of our origins, / in ghostlier demarcations.”

A similar concern with imaginative order also provides the background for Matturri’s performance photographs of Jack Smith. He says, “Beneath the glittery surface, Smith’s work involved a tension between an awkward struggle for order and a fascination with an inevitable, often beautiful, collapse.” Through a rigorous cropping and a somewhat incongruous desaturation of the original slides, Matturri’s prints allude to this side of Smith’s work.
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