Walls Paper, 1972

In the fall of 1972, Gordon Matta-Clark (1943–1978) created Dumpster Duplex, an outdoor intervention in a garbage dumpster. It was the second iteration of his earlier work, Open House, a re-created version of which is part of the MAMCO collection. A photograph shows the container outside 112 Greene Street, a legendary alternative exhibition space in New York’s SoHo district. The main difference in layout between Dumpster Duplex and the earlier version lies in the fact that it featured a second story: steps led to a raised platform where a fire pit served as a barbecue, as depicted in the photographs by Andy Grunberg on display here. 

Around the same time, Matta-Clark held a show at 112 Greene Street. The invitation card showed a series of partially demolished buildings, with fragments of wallpaper, chipped paint, and ceramic tiles visible through the holes in the walls. The main focus of the exhibition was a series of long strips of paper cascading down the wall from the ceiling. This “wallpaper” in fact consisted of color silkscreen prints on newspaper. It was made from black and white photos of abandoned buildings in the Bronx and the Lower East Side (nine of which are on display here). Matta-Clark added color to some reframed and expanded sections, rendering the original “designs” unrecognizable or even abstract in appearance. He produced a total of 72 color prints in this way. Together, they formed the original Walls Paper installation. The artist arranged them in piles against the wall, like newspapers, allowing visitors to peruse them at their leisure. The following year, he published a book by the same name containing all the silkscreen prints—the originals of which were destroyed shortly after the exhibition.

This exhibition, which featured the re-created versions of Open House and Walls Paper in the same space, not only recalls the spirit of the 1972 show, but also touched on the notion of recycling—a key theme of Matta-Clark’s ephemeral installations.

  • Exhibition curated by Sophie Costes with the support of Tate Modern (London), the Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark, and the Zwirner gallery (New York)
FONDATION MAMCOÉtat de GenèveVille de GenèveJTIFondation LeenaardsFondation genevoise de bienfaisance Valeria Rossi di Montelera