This important drawing by Chilean-born Abstract Expressionist Roberto Matta is an exploration of the unconscious mind through representation of the human psyche, taking the form of strange machine-like contraptions pitted against highly distressed figures scattered on a featureless background. Roberto Antonio Sebastián Matta Echaurren (1911-2002), better known as Roberto Matta, was a significant figure of surrealism and abstract expressionist art.
'Everything in this painting is psychological... How to picture the battle field, not the physical one, but the one inside of us: fear against courage, criticism, and hate, suspicion and trust? An internal bombardment.' –Roberto Matta
Born and raised in Chile, Matta had no formal education in the arts, yet evolved into a singular artist who received worldwide recognition. His affiliations with the radical visionaries of the early 20th century art scene such as Federico García Lorca, Salvador Dali, and André Breton prompted him to develop the artistic insight that was untouched by any formality and tradition. Matta famously joined the Surrealist movement in 1937; the surrealists were using "automatic painting" (the artist working without conscious deliberation and intervention). Instead, Matta followed the sheer impulse which allowed him to expand freely on his unconscious, hence liberating, associations. This technique broke the mold of the Surrealist movement's conventions by introducing a cerebral dimension into the equation. The symbolic language of recognizable yet hallucinatory forms of Matta's work invites the viewer to read an enigmatic narrative in the chaotic manifestations of the unconsciousness.