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Matta

(1911—2002)


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(b Santiago, Chile, 11 Nov. 1911; d Civitavecchia, Italy, 23 Nov. 2002).

Chilean painter and sculptor active mainly in Paris, but also in Italy and the USA. He trained as an architect but turned to painting in 1937 and in the same year joined the Surrealist movement. In 1939 he fled from Europe to New York, where with other émigrés including Breton, Ernst, Masson, and Tanguy he formed a strong and influential Surrealist presence. He played a particularly significant role in encouraging Gorky, Pollock, and others to experiment with automatic techniques. From about 1944 he began to create his most characteristic works—large canvases bordering on abstraction that evoke fantastic subjective landscapes and take as their theme the precariousness of human existence in a world dominated by machines and hidden forces. In 1948 he broke with the Surrealists and returned to Europe, but his work continued in a similar vein. He lived in Rome in the early 1950s, then mainly in Paris, although he travelled widely. In 1957 he began making sculpture.

Subjects: Art.


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