Matt Saunders — Ratlos/Indomitable


Lithography / engraving

Matt Saunders

Past: March 20 → April 17, 2018

Librairie Marian Goodman present a group of new engravings by Matt Saunders. Primarily a painter employing photography materials to make hybrid images and animated films, Saunders has also been including printmaking in his practice. Ratlos/Indomitable is his latest series of large-scale etchings, made in the print studio Niels Borch Jensen in Copenhagen.

The five black-and-white etchings are close-up portraits of the fictional movie character Leni Peickert, the female protagonist in Die Artisten in der Zirkuskuppel: ratlos (Artists in the Big Top: Perplexed) from 1968, and Die unbezähmbare Leni Peickert (The Indomitable Leni Peickert) from 1970, both directed by Alexander Kluge, one of the leading figures of the New German Cinema. Whereas Kluge’s two experimental films are characterized by having a non-sequential narrative and the use of archive images, the sequel is even more radical and was made with leftover footage from the first film.

Pursuing Kluge’s collage-style, Saunders employs different intricate printing processes (soft ground etching, spit bite, aquatint, sugar lift aquatint, soap ground aquatint, open bite) and combines multiple frames in one monumental image. The hand-drawn overlapping frames create a unique pictorial space in which several viewpoints are intertwined, almost as looking at a moving image. The fragmented pictures also hint at the psychology of Leni Peickert, who is torn between determination and doubt, stability and indomitability.

At the same moment he was making these figurative prints, Saunders created five abstract etchings made from the back of each copper plate, proposing a kind of unconscious image. One of these etchings, Back (Ratlos/Indomitable) 3 is also featured in the exhibition.



Matt Saunders, born 1975 in Tacoma, Washington, lives and works in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Berlin, Germany. He studied at Harvard University and earned an MFA in painting and printmaking from Yale University School of Art. In 2015, he was awarded the Rappaport Prize, while in 2013 he received the Prix Jean-Francois-Prat, and in 2009 a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award.

In 2017 Saunders presented solo shows at the Saint Louis Art Museum and at Tank Shanghai Project Space, Shanghai. His work has been exhibited in international museums such as the Museum of Modern Art (New York, 2014); the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, 2013); Tate Liverpool (2012); The Renaissance Society (Chicago, 2010); and Deutsche Guggenheim (Berlin, 2008).

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The artist

  • Matt Saunders