Matt Johnson

The Pianist (after Robert J. Lang) 2005
Tarp, steel, paper
124.5cm x 355.6cm x 218.4cm
49 x 140 x 86

Matt Johnson

Born 1978 New York
Lives and works in Los Angeles, California

Matt Johnson rose to prominence with a small sculpture Breadface 2004 that was effectively adopted as a logo for a survey exhibition of recent sculpture from Los Angeles at the Hammer Museum at UCLA in 2005. It was cast in plastic and meticulously painted to look liked the crusty end of a loaf of bread with eyes and mouth crudely torn out of it to form the appearance of a face. Matt Johnson is a sculptor unafraid to take on the great themes in a search to unearth some of the more fundamental sources of expression. The crust of bread fashioned into a face is a basic child like form, His Pieta 2005 made from car exhaust pipes, silencers and wheel rims, has a clear association with welded steel sculpture of the 1960s and 70s and a young man’s interest in cars. His practice, in common with other young artists based in Los Angles, marks a return to objecthood and away from room size installations. Like others in his generation, he often refers to works of art from other eras. He has made a mini tower of ice cubes that mimics Brancusi’s Endless Column. His Pieta obviously refers to Michelangelo and another work Magic Eye is reminiscent of a painting by Giacomo Bala the Italian Futurist. With his work The Pianist (after Robert J Lang) 2005 Matt Johnson is working on a larger scale. This baby grand piano made from folded tarpaulin, steel and paper refers to the popular origami master Robert J Lang who became one of the foremost origami artists in the world.