Office Baroque: History of the Project


“The rings accidentally left behind on a drawing by a teacup, gave me the idea to organize the whole around two semi-circles of slightly different diameters. This began at ground level and formed the constant motif that would cut through the floors and through the roof. Where the circles crossed each other, a strange, rowboat-like form was created, and this mutated according to the supporting beams and the available floor space. In this project – that got the title Office Baroque - the ordering of the space (large, open office-space downstairs, smaller adjoining rooms on upper floors) determined how the formal elements changed from continuous round discs to shrapnel-like pieces and chunks of the original form where these ‘collided’ against walls and partitions.”

In 1977, the ICC invited Gordon Matta-Clark to realize a project in an empty office-building located across from ‘het Steen’ (an Antwerp landmark on the river Scheldt), right in the middle of the historic town center, just behind city hall. Collectors Jo Goldberg and Silvain Perlstein put their shoulders to the wheel from the outset. This work was to be part of his series of so-called ‘cuttings’, the cut-out removal of parts of buildings, whereby Matta-Clark would blow new life and movement, if only briefly, into abandoned derelict buildings and forgotten neighborhoods. After the original project had to be fundamentally altered, because no building permit was accorded, the work was entirely carried out in the building’s interior.

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