A Jacob's Ladder, remembering Gordon Matta-Clark
A Jacob's Ladder, remembering Gordon Matta-Clark
2012 - 2013
audio archive
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"I’d wanted to edit these images for a very long time. They were shot in June 1977 in a dynamic, reportage style. In the past, there hadn’t really been any interest in this film within the art world. The Jacob’s Ladder project had taken place in the grounds of an old factory outside the boundaries of the official Documenta 6 exhibition in Kassel. Gordon had said that his work needed to have a degree of distance from the atmosphere of a big art exhibition, something that he perceived as being like a ‘Fritz Lang art metropolis zoo’. For Gordon, art was a way of making people more aware of their environment in everyday life. It was for this reason that he preferred to work outside the museum boundaries. And of course, his focus for this project was upon the tall, industrial chimneys that could be found in Kassel. Gordon defined Jacob’s Ladder as being the result of an idea about ‘drawing in space, rather than drawing through things’. He also said that he’d always wanted to do a ‘chimney’, and that the ‘chimneys’ he’d done before were more like cuttings! Let’s not forget that a chimney, in itself, is an artificial, man-made tunnel that transmits air into the sky. Jacob’s Ladder is as an artistic and more spiritually oriented ‘mirror’ of the classic ‘material’ concept of a chimney – to the point where it almost vanishes into infinity. It’s stunning to realise that cosmic reality is dominated by endless emptiness. This is why Gordon’s vision, which he developed through his cuts and other interventions, such as Jacob’s Ladder, is so important. In Jacob’s Ladder, Gordon isolated, by means of a triangular net structure, a tunnel of ‘empty’ space in the air. He called this process ‘liberating’ space. Jacob’s Ladder was about liberating space by occupying existing, free space, seemingly the opposite of liberating space by cutting through existing structures, as in Office Baroque. Yet there isn’t really any fundamental difference between his cutting acts and his Jacob’s Ladder construction, simply because the tunnel of emptiness that he created is, in essence, not very different from the openings, cuts and tunnels that he made by cutting through buildings. With Jacob’s Ladder, a stairway to heaven, Gordon compels us to confront, with complete clarity, the symbolic and practical meaning of ‘liberated space’ and it’s cosmic potential. In this work he offers us a visual and ‘tactile’ concept that explores the balance between material and spiritual reality on a human scale. Gordon also loved the idea that people would climb into his stairway. The visitors were also invited to physically explore this dimension of the work. In this case, of course, it was a rather dangerous experience. Children loved Gordon’s intervention, and they were always the first to ask to explore his work: this was undoubtedly because of their ability to wonder and to play. When discussing Crane Ballet, a planned but unrealised project, Gordon told us, with a big smile, that since he wasn’t familiar with the crane handle manipulations he’d let children operate the controls – and that the children would teach him what to do. Gordon has played such an important role in art history and yet Jacob’s Ladder is still relatively unknown. It’s Jacob’s Ladder, however, that helps us to better understand his Sky Hooks drawings from 1978 (his last project). Made just before he died, these drawings form part of the MACBA collection and, the way I see it now, they are the clearest possible evidence of Gordon’s genius. The curators and directors, Carles Guerra (MACBA) and Bart De Baere (M HKA), as well as Flor Bex (former director of the ICC and M HKA) and Harold Berg (‘Max’), stimulated me to finish this editing. The post-production for both of these last two films was executed in close collaboration with our ‘creative’ editor, Steven Perceval from AAP Media in Antwerp. The soundtrack to Summer ‘77 is by Nico Staelens. The song for the A Jacob’s Ladder homage, as well as the soundtrack for the movie, is by Jan Verheyen. -- http://summer77.eu/introduction-by-cherica-convents2/ -- "

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original title
A Jacob's Ladder, remembering Gordon Matta-Clark
year of acquisition
2013
type of object
Audiovisual recording
credits
MACBA Collection. MACBA Consortium
registration number
R.5058
date
2012 - 2013
fonds
MACBA Collection. MACBA Consortium
media
Single-channel video, colour, sound, 36 min 9 s
Copyright
© Cherica Convents
original title
A Jacob's Ladder, remembering Gordon Matta-Clark
registration number
R.5058
date
2012 - 2013
year of acquisition
2013
fonds
MACBA Collection. MACBA Consortium
type of object
Audiovisual recording
media
Single-channel video, colour, sound, 36 min 9 s
credits
MACBA Collection. MACBA Consortium
Copyright
© Cherica Convents
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