Last summer I was in Krakow for a wedding. While I was there, I came across an exhibition at the Muzeum Narodowe W Krakowie, entitled Matta. Man and Universe. I went without knowing anything about the artist. I was intrigued by the exhibit name and, with a free day in Krakow, decided to investigate.
While I am fairly familiar with Surrealism, I had never heard of Roberto Matta. His work is fascinating, a transition from Surrealism to Expressionism within a single artist’s work. Standing in front of his large works in the darkened gallery, I got the sense of another world, of things emerging and collapsing. A note at the entrance to the exhibit summed up what particularly attracted me to Matta’s work:
André Breton said: “Matta was in possession of a completely new palette of colours …, maybe it was the only one of this kind, and certainly the most fascinating one since Matisse’s times.”
One painting in particularly captured my attention. There is a part of Iris du Sud that looks like a pagoda seen through the haze. Instantly, I felt that it was part of the visual style of Sea of Dreams. In fact, his work became part of the mood board for the cover design along with Yang Yongliang. What attracted me was the sense of mystery in Matta’s work and how his paintings seemed to have grand, cosmic feel to them, something that I was trying to convey in the book.