By Rosanne Pellegrini Staff Writer

McMullen Museum Offers View of Surrealist Matta

By Rosanne Pellegrini
Staff Writer

Roberto Sebastián Antonio Matta Echaurren, a pioneering Latin American artist who achieved international status and acclaim through his mastery of Surrealism, will be the subject of a forthcoming McMullen Museum of Art exhibition, "Matta: Making the Invisible Visible."

"Inscape" will be among the works featured at the upcoming McMullen Museum exhibition on Roberto Sebastián Antonio Matta Echaurren.
The exhibition, which runs from Feb. 1-May 24, spans the six decades of the career of Matta (1912-2002), and is the first to critically focus on the artist's claim to having made the "invisible visible," and to "make visible" the Latin American influences that lend his work its distinct aesthetic. This exclusive presentation, the first retrospective of Matta since his death, will include works from private collections rarely exhibited as well as the public debut of some of the artist's drawings.

An opening celebration will be held for the Boston College community and the public from 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 3. The event will feature a dessert reception and exhibition viewing, music by BC's popular jazz band, BC bOp!, and an opening ceremony at 8 p.m. at the McMullen Museum. Those interested in attending should RSVP at ext.2-8587 or by e-mail at

"The McMullen Museum is pleased to present, from an innovative and interdisciplinary point of view, this retrospective of some of the best work by one of the 20th-century's major artists," said McMullen Museum Director Prof. Nancy Netzer (Fine Arts).

The exhibition and accompanying scholarly catalogue, which is edited by part-time faculty member Elizabeth Goizueta (Romance Languages and Literatures), explore the symbiotic relationship between Matta and important Spanish and Latin American literary figures, the artist's visualization of psychological and religious themes, his unique position within the development of modern art, as well as the reception of his work.

"Matta is recognized as one of the pre-eminent Latin American artists of the 20th century," said Goizueta, who serves as principal exhibition curator. "This exhibition is unique in that it explores the multiple intellectual and cultural influences on Matta's artistic vision."

Born and raised in Santiago, Chile and educated by the Jesuits, Matta left for Spain in his early 20s to explore his ancestral roots. Living an itinerant life in North and South America as well as Europe, Matta established connections with many renowned writers and artists of the 20th century. Exhibited in major museums worldwide, Matta is usually presented as a "European" painter, based on his time spent in Italy and Paris.

The exhibition will be installed chronologically, beginning with the artist's well known European period in the late 1930s. This first section will highlight morphological works and will investigate how Matta grappled with the psyche and invented a visual language to evoke the subconscious.

The second section will focus on Matta's time in New York City, demonstrating the artist's shift from personal psychological "inscapes" to external landscapes. It also will examine how Matta reorients his iconography as a result of his growing interest in primitive and pre-Columbian art, as shown in his depictions of the political horrors of World War II.

In the last section of "Making the Invisible Visible," 15 large works created during the last 30 years of Matta's life explore the correlations between the artist's pre- and post-war works and how they visualize his intense political beliefs, his ongoing fascination with the sciences, and his revolutionary ideas concerning the state of the world.

The accompanying catalogue includes color reproductions of all the exhibited works reproduced and essays by four co-curators, three of whom are BC faculty members: Prof. Robert Goizueta (Theology), Assoc. Prof. Claude Cernuschi (Fine Arts) and Asst. Prof. Sarah Beckjord (Romance Languages and Literatures).

Information about the exhibition and accompanying public programs is available at the McMullen Museum Web site,, or at ext.2-8100.


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