press release

What is now plain and clear is that neither future nor past things are in existence and that it is not correct to say there are three periods of time: past, present, and future. Perhaps it would be proper to say there are three periods of time: the present of things past, the present of things present, and the present of things future. Augustine

Dreaming of islands–whether with joy or in fear it doesn’t matter–is dreaming of pulling away, of being already separate, far from any continent, of being lost and alone–or it is dreaming of starting from scratch, recreating, beginning anew. Some islands drifted away from the continent, but the island is also that toward which one drifts; other islands originated in the ocean but the island is also the origin, radical and absolute. Gilles Deleuze

Passing the time is not as easy as you think. There’s shit scattered all over the world that attest to that. All kinds of retarded monuments. They keep us occupied for while but at a certain point enough is enough. Its an uneasy balance. I’ve always thought things should just disappear after a while. I read that in primitive cultures there is no concept of time, no past and future. They just live in a kind of expanded present. There is no time to kill, no monuments to the past, just the present. A constant now.

...I dragged my fingers across the mirror. I made a painting in the tired dust. A cave painting; it was an image of Lucy. Two days later some asshole wiped it out and now his stupid shit is there. Who cares? This is a palimpsest of the worst kind, Christ there’s not even a message here, just dumb marks. What do you expect in a place like this anyway. Write over my name, I write over yours. Time obscures everything.

...I obviously wasted all that time finding myself, achieving clarity and becoming one, but spiritual de-stratification is not as valuable as those Krishnas would have you believe. All that lame work and I’m more or less nowhere. Marooned. I should have stuck with the drugs....

Josh has gone the other way: hyper-stratification. He’s completely atomized. He just boiled over into steam. He’s never had much direction before, but now he’s completely a drift. A vapour. Wafting around in the dumb air currents of this room. Not bad actually. From fire to smoke, solid to vapour, water to steam; this is the moment of pure transformation where the books tell us anything is possible. We just need to settle on an idea, any new thing will do but so far there is nothing on the horizon so we are stuck in this moment. This transition might be a while. This is backwards equilibrium. Limbo. No time to kill, no monuments to the past, just the present. The constant now. Tony Matelli


Andréhn-Schiptjenko is proud to present Tony Matelli’s 4th solo show, The Constant Now. The opening takes place in presence of the artist on Thursday May 6 between 5 – 8 pm.

Comprised of five new sculptures and new to Matelli’s oeuvre, three new paintings, The Constant Now expands upon Matelli’s interest in the depiction of inner states of desolation, panic, ambivalence, despair and sometimes hope. A rich entry into the exhibition is Glass of Water (2010). As much a proverb as a work of art, Glass of Water is a sculpture of a pint of water, half full. The work is made of cast optical glass, and acts as a kind of lens that tightly focuses the central theme of the show: the indeterminable. It is a sculpture of a question without an answer.

Josh (2010), is an incredibly sensitive rendering of a man untethered from his surroundings, floating just inches off the ground. Despite his wide gaze, his body appears vacated, uninhabited. He is a shell. He is both the deserted island and the water lapping the shore.

The three paintings in the show appear to be simply neglected mirrors; dusty surfaces as registers of time, with traces of human touch. They are palimpsests of life, atomized unto a surface. A mark is made, time passes. Someone was here. Nearby, a bucket sits on the floor, filled with water and a few wishes (Untitled, 2009).

The Constant Now (2010), and Yesterday (2010) are the show’s anti-monuments. These sculptures appear perpetually verged on self-destruction, their attraction a result of their seemingly built-in failure. Fixed atop a cardboard box with a piece of chewing gum, a cigarette expels a ceaseless stream of smoke; The Constant Now is an absurd yet solemn vigil, an abandoned smoke signal. Yesterday, is an elaborate structure built from playing cards, beer cans, cold pizza and cigarette butts. Composed of polychrome bronze, Yesterday is at once lowly and sublime; it is a cairn to the future, a testament to the pursuance of collapse.

Tony Matelli (b 1971) lives and works in Brooklyn. His work can currently be seen in: Realismus; Das Abenteuer der Wirklichkeit, Kunsthalle Emden, Germany, N’importe Quoi, Musée d’art Contemporain de Lyon, France. Buy-Sellf, CAPC, Bordeaux, France, Don’t Piss on Me and Tell Me Its Raining, APEX Art, NYC Upcoming solo shows include the Falkenrot Preis exhibition at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany.

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Tony Matelli