Earth Materials in the Work of Roberto Matta in Italy (1950s–1960s)

Paulina Caro Troncoso, M.A.

This project examines the work of Chilean-born artist Roberto Matta in Italy, focusing on the artist’s experimentation with earth materials in his painting from the 1950s and 1960s. In the scholarship on Matta, there has yet to be a sustained attempt to study the works the artist made after his experience of exile with members of the Surrealist group in New York in the 1940s. The project addresses this gap by examining Matta’s experimentation with new materials and participation in the Italian artistic scene in the following decades. The aim of this research is twofold: first, to demonstrate that the experiences Matta had with a group of ceramists and avant-garde artists in a workshop in Italy are pivotal for understanding the development of his socially and politically engaged body of work; and second, to explore how Matta’s work is inscribed within the artistic and cultural context of postwar Italy.

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