Andréhn-Schiptjenko is proud to present Abandon, Tony Matelli's first exhibition at the Paris venue, and his seventh with the gallery. This is the first time Abandon is presented in a gallery context.
The Weed sculptures are, now for the past 20 years, an ongoing series of unique works made of hand-painted bronze. The very first Weed was made in 1995 and was among the first works made when the artist arrived in NYC. The series was first shown in a museum context in the exhibition To Be Real curated by Toby Kamps at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco (1997).
Each work depicts in minute detail and in original scale exactly what their title implies—a weed. Intended to be experienced as such first and as art second, they function beyond institutional critique and act as metaphors for general classifications of value, hierarchy and worthiness. Weeds are sturdy, never welcome and always present, surviving, and even thriving, in the most hostile places—a crack in the pavement, a hole in a wall, a bump in the road.
'The weed is a triumph and a failure at the same time. Weeds persevere; you can't kill them. They are a celebration of unwantedness. They are waste and life at the same time' –Tony Matelli
Abandon consists of an installation of multiple Weed sculptures. An exhibition by this name first took place in 1999 at University of Buffalo Art Gallery, curated by Lisa Fischman, (now Director at The Davies Museum at Wellesley College) and has since been shown in several well-known institutions such as the Kunsthalle Vienna (2005), The Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria (2008) and the Palais de Tokyo (2009). Abandon can be understood as both a verb - to give up, to cease looking after something or somebody, to leave - and as a noun, synonym for lack of inhibitions and restraint, a total recklessness.
Tony Matelli (b. 1971) lives and works in Brooklyn. Recent institutional solo exhibitions include I Hope All Is Well... at 500 Capp Street, San Francisco, USA 2018, Garden at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, USA in 2017 and Realisms at The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia, amongst others. His work is widely collected and included in major public and private collections around the world.
Press release courtesy Andréhn-Schiptjenko.