A retrospective of handmade miniature interiors by Charles Matton is on exhibit in London’s All Visual Arts gallery. Matton, who died in 2008 of lung cancer, built ‘Boxes,’ that recreated artist studios and mise-en-scènes, emotive still-frames of inhabited interiors, empty hotel hallways, lonesome ateliers and imaginary boîtes. Poking one’s head inside one of Matton’s enclosures is being Gulliver trespassing into another reality and expecting the room’s lilliputian occupants to return any moment.
The fascination with doll’s houses is that we glorify our need for tidying and collecting objects with imperial strokes and a make-belief sense of omniscience. Replicating the world exactly had been Matton’s passions, and his artistic journey began with painting hyperreal interiors that he eventually extrapolated into three-dimensions, creating rooms with walls exactly as he would have painted them on canvas, drawing cracks on the patina, filtering sun and shade on the furniture, miniaturizing the effects of light itself.
Jean Baudrillard, who was a close friend of the artist for twenty-five years, described Matton’s worlds, “when they are condensed in a marvelously small space, one rediscovers their quintessence. Recreating a space and a scene on a smaller scale convinces us to enter it more intimately.” Delighting in his obsessiveness, Baurdrillard concluded that Matton, was “quite certainly a fetishist.”