Heidi Bucher - Gordon Matta-Clark
23rd September 2017 — 20th December 2017
A publication accompanying this exhibition, published by Silence Editions, is available for purchase here.
Exhibited together for the first time, ALMA ZEVI presents Swiss artist Heidi Bucher (1926 -1993), and American artist Gordon Matta-Clark (1943 - 1978). Entitled FLOORS, this exhibition is of work by Heidi Bucher and Gordon Matta-Clark from the 1970s. It takes their obsessive distortion and re-imagination of architecture, floors in particular, as the subject matter. The two artists made work that evaded categorization by fusing together elements of sculpture, painting, and performance. Gordon Matta-Clark cut into the surfaces and structures of buildings, creating fragile cavities and unexpected light-wells. Meanwhile, Heidi Bucher cast floors and walls with resins and latex, creating new surfaces that are both rough and elegant.
Gordon Matta-Clark’s series Bronx Floors (1972), which are shown at ALMA ZEVI, is the result of him cutting out parts of the floorboards and ceiling of an abandoned residential building in the Bronx, New York. In doing so, he radically re-assembled the space. This work directly questions our experience of walking, standing, or indeed gravity. Tearing architecture away from functionality, redefining its form, sculpting with light and space, this is a seminal work not just in Gordon Matta-Clark’s work as whole, but in the art of the last 50 years.
Between 1976-8 Heidi Bucher was in Zurich and making equally pioneering work. Exhibited at ALMA ZEVI are three unsettlingly poetic Borg floors. These are casts of the floor of what she called ‘the Borg’ - her basement studio in Zurich, which had previously contained a butcher’s freezing room. The Borg floors are beautifully textured, evocative and mysterious. This exhibition explores the sensuality of Heidi Bucher’s approach, where a wall or floor becomes a skin. The Borg pieces cement her as an artist who overcame the deeply backward concept of being a ‘great woman artist’, to take her proper place as ‘a great artist’, whose work is also included in this year’s Venice Biennale.
In 1972 Heidi Bucher and her husband Carl Bucher collaborated to create a piece of performance art: Body Shells. In the same year, Gordon Matta-Clark’s partner Carol Goodden participated in his performance piece Tree Dance. Both were filmed, and are now shown together for the first time at ALMA ZEVI. These highly experimental films combine choreography and dance, performance art, and site-specific sculpture.
To mark the opening of the exhibition, the Teatrino Grassi will be screening films by Heidi Bucher and Gordon Matta-Clark. The screenings will take place on Friday 22 September, from 6.30pm, and on Saturday 23 September, from 10am to 7pm (beginning of each session at 10am, 1pm, 2.30pm, 4pm and 5.30pm). Full details can be found here.