Imagine yourself standing on the street and gazing at the top of the road bathed in the warm light of the sunset. Then, all of a sudden, even before you had the time to process the incoming sound of thunder, your moment of serenity is broken by the American muscle car flying down the hill, like in some fierce Hollywood car chase.
Well, that's how encountering Matthew Porter's collection The Heights feels like. The surprise of witnessing such mass of metal suspended in mid-air in a seemingly genuine photograph fills the body with the rush of adrenaline and prevents the mind from rationalising the sceen. The rationale follows late and gets our face closer to the picture in order to investigate the trickery - cause what else could it be!
Mathew's skill to evoke such emotions within the viewer leaves a chance no role in the success of this collection. First, deliberately chosen, then immaculately lighten, miniatures of cars are placed into sentimental city scenes in a way that makes the absurd of flying vehicles acceptable. In fact, the quality with which photographs are executed enhances the absurdity and makes it an integral part of the experience.
The allure of the ’60s- and ’70s-era TV and cinema retro style sets the ground for a "bittersweet nostalgia" that defines the artist's "ironic reinvention of a classic American trope", as it's stated in the collection's description but the defiance of gravity through the artifice of photographic manipulation makes a conscious connection to the influential French artist and a leader of the New Realism movement Yeves Klein’s, his Leap into the Void photomontage in particular.
As Yeves Klein before him, Matthew Porter's work elicits the sense of wonder, delight and mystery. The more we are able to read the conceptual content of it, unravel the layers of craftsmanship and reveal the strings behind the curtain, the more our appreciation and understanding of the art grows.