Matta: Dis-Astronaute

Art Gallery Exhibition Brochure

Technical description: Matta (Roberto Sebastian Antonio Matta Echaurren) MATTA: DIS-ASTRONAUTE. New York: Alexander (Alexandre) Iolas Gallery, 1966. First Edition. 8vo. Printed Wrappers. Exhibition Brochure. Good +. One 8 x 11" sheet printed offset recto and verso, neatly folded in half to make 4pp, 1 b&w illustration. A handsome copy of this uncommon ephemeral item that was the only printed documentation of an exhibition. Arcana Books On The Arts

Outside of the DIS-ASTRONAUTE four-panel brochure: the front-page text below is referenced in The Atrocity Exhibition by the Kline character in the paragraph entitled "A Watching Trinity" in chapter five, Notes Towards A Mental Breakdown.

Kline: 'Why must we await, and fear, a disaster in space in order to understand our own time? -- Matta.'

In his annotations to this chapter, Ballard says: "The Chilean painter, Roberto Matta, one of the last of the surrealists, asked this as yet unanswerable question. All disasters -- earthquakes, plane or car crashes -- seem to reveal for a brief moment the secret formulae of the world around us, but a disaster in space rewrites the rules of the continuum itself."

One surmises rewriting the rules of the continuum means Time will somehow be affected by Space.

This is reflected in the way Ballard has changed Matta's final question of: "a disaster in space, in order to become aware of our world?"

Ballard has Kline say: "a disaster in space in order to understand our own time?"

And by that, one also surmises Ballard means not only the zeitgeist of the moment, but neurological time, that "history of the species" which lives within our nervous structure. In another annotation to this same Atrocity Exhibition chapter, Ballard comments on the death of the space age, and suggests, "Perhaps space travel is forever doomed because it inevitably recapitulates primitive stages in the growth of our nervous systems, before the development of our sense of balance and upright posture -- a forced return to infantile dependency."

Inside spread: this is a reproduction of the Dis-Astronaute painting. The original is big: 6'6" by 9'9". Interesting symmetry.