Tony Matelli’s imperfect human figures and macabre self-portraits might be described as expressions of hyperrealistic angst. Over the past 15 years, he has reinterpreted the human condition through an interplay of humor and horror, a strategy best demonstrated in Total Torpor, Mad Malaise (2003). In this grotesque parody of a classical reclining figure, a deformed, nude man overcome by boils smiles curiously at us over the remains of his bingeing—a reference to the foot of Tracey Emin’s iconic Bed (1998), with its carpet-strewn garbage and associated questions.
Matelli has exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions across Europe and North America, including “Personal Structures,” a collateral event/exhibition at the 2011 Venice Biennale. His most wide-ranging solo exhibition, “Tony Matelli—A HUMAN ECHO,” was shown at ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum in Denmark in 2012. Matelli grew up in Chicago and Wisconsin and received a BFA in sculpture from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and an MFA in sculpture from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. He now lives and works in New York