The Chilean artist Roberto Matta had already established a network of friends among European modernist architects and Surrealist artists when he arrived on the New York scene in 1939. There he played a pivotal role in the inception of Abstract Expressionism. In 1948 he left New York and lived an itinerant life in Europe and South America. Matta often initiated a work by making uncontrolled marks and smudges on paper (or canvas) that freed his imagination. He then built a composition around these random gestures. Chance and improvisation were to him the means to express the other, unspeakable, even unthinkable side of existence.
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