Gordon Matta-Clark :
un livre d’archives
lettres à Roberto Matta et Carol Goodden


Letter to Roberto Matta in Paris from New York – April 1973

Dear Matta
Many Thanks for your postcard. It was a beautiful architectural treat and the 1st postcard you have ever sent—a real surprise! Things are going very well with Carol and me—we have just moved from a studio where we were constantly fighting with our landlord—(Carol is the better fighter of us two—which is now all quite an elaborate battle) into a new place with space enough for my sculpture-photography and Carol’s dance—I’ll try to send some pictures and a plan of that space—Our work on Baton’s floor, which he now owns and is in another building, has just begun—It will be a very proper job when finished. Baton however is in a bad way ever since arriving in New York—he has been in and out of hospitals, now finally committed himself to Belview—where I visit him from time to time—At first he was in a terrible way even having nervous seizures—these seem to have subsided and we had a good time last visit—so his humor is improving, although I can’t think of any possible good in staying at Belview, a hospital that has very minimum care and a generally callous attitude—He is also talking of leaving for Spain or traveling, so it is hard to say what is next. Two things seem important: (1) to let him be his own boss even if it means a hospital (2) the hope that he will continue with some kind of therapy—Meanwhile our work for him goes on—so far we have invested the $14,500 you sent for him to buy his floor plus installation of a new bathroom—It will cost another $3000–$4000 to make the place rentable—I will do most of the work since I am now somewhat of a contractor—I am using my money for this as a loan to Baton. We hope to rent the floor for 400 / mo which should bring a very safe stable income of $200 / mo. This is not a lot of money but the rising value of the loft and equity (money paid back on mortgage) makes it the securest of investments with a presumably guaranteed 10% income. When Baton is ready to have his own place, which may not be for a while, he can either have this for fairly cheap maintenance fees, or we will find him a smaller even cheaper place—also if he wants to sell the floor he would get the full sales price—my thinking is that this would not be for two–three yrs.
Mat Corone has called a couple of times asking where you are and wants to sell some paintings for you. If it is feasible, we could use some more bread for 42 E 12 st to fix up Baton’s floor if not I’ll handle it over a period of time—But it would take 10 years to pay me back a $4,000 loan and I would like to make some kind of an investment for myself.
Two weeks ago I officially applied for the Greenwich Village Open Air Art Show, that exhibition in the streets, and presented my work before an official panel of judges, in a room full of other applicants and was ignominiously rejected—my application was publicly destroyed and I was to leave in shame by an awful little side door. Just think if I had never shown anywhere before—it would have been the end before begun art career—So out of love and anger I am presenting in June an alternative to their show of what I call photoglyphs or painted photographs of New York graffiti which has reached revolutionary proportions. It will all be a lot of fun. Then I will stay in our new place for most of the summer and hopefully by Sept– Octoberish, Carol and I will come to Paris-London and hopefully visit you.
All our love to all Send more postcards, I am heavy into them— Gordon


Letter to Artist Carol Goodden in New York from Amsterdam – December 3, 1973

Dear love,
The weather, and having to wait without you for a chance to work keeps me from having all the enthusiasm I’d like for my stay here. I have been remembering a few garbled dreams that you and some other man were having more fun than me—that woke me up—dreamt of Penelope with a beard . . . Yaki and his family are kind and helpful and supporting. He is truly in love with art, for that alone I will try and stay and do a piece. Yesterday, no one could drive, so we stayed and played Monopoly with Peter Engle, the artist we met from Amsterdam. I haven’t played it for fifteen years, but they are fanatical about it and do it each Sunday since the gas crisis. Peter was a double winner.
I feel more and more in need of you and want to be in touch with everyone. I am getting some new ideas about work “withrough” walls so that it becomes more a super-imposition of drawings on structure. Not just an isolated hole or cut, but related cuts unifying the space and disengaging points of support. Also I want to reinforce the idea that the area (building parts) beyond the intrusion is affected and that effect, as well as cause, is an ingredient.
One thing that impresses me about our life in New York is how much more interesting it would be to have some perspective on the “scene” while still being able to meet and keep in touch with friends, old and new.
Tried to translate that Italian book but the dictionary is so limited I could not find one out of three words—but the gist of it is clearly an architecture student’s complaint of his academic background and a long, personal defense of his move to doing art. The word “anarchitecture” occurs only once on the cover and his ideas infringe in no way with our independent feelings and attitudes.—But I must get our show ready and public (Ask all involved to put together ten ideas of anarchitectural examples I shall bring mine and we can all meet before Christmas).
Carol, I miss your company, warm touch, good looks, sounds, smells, great chewable nosey-wosey, clean teeth, beautiful newly discovered smile, pimpled-nimple elegant stature, and just plain everyday presence. I mean even a few hours of you a day would do.


These two letters are taken from the CCA’s Gordon Matta-Clark archive. They are taken from the book, Gordon Matta-Clark An Archival Sourcebook, and published with the permission of the publishers.

jeudi 1 fév. 2024 18:30 
auditorium, entrée libre dans la limite des places disponibles

Fabrizio Gallanti, directeur d’arc en rêve en discussion avec
Philip Ursprung et Gwendolyn Owens au sujet de leur livre,

Gordon Matta-Clark: An Archival Sourcebook (ed. University of California Press, 2022).


Brouillant les frontières entre l’artiste et l’architecte, Matta-Clark a remis en question le concept d’espace. Dans ce livre, les auteur.es sélectionnent et ordonnent avec soin des lettres, des entretiens, des déclarations et les cartes d’art de la collection Gordon Matta-Clark au Centre Canadien d’Architecture offrant une nouvelle compréhension des processus de pensée de l’artiste/architecte.

Cette présentation s’inscrit dans le cadre des activités hors les murs du Centre culturel suisse, en partenariat avec le FAB – Festival international des Arts de Bordeaux métropole du 30 septembre au 15 octobre.