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Tony Matelli

Old Enemy, New Victim

Artist

Tony Matelli
Born in Chicago in 1971

Title

Old Enemy, New Victim

Date

2006

Materials

Latex resin, yak hair

Dimensions

98 x 185 x 130 cm (approx.)

Credits

Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, anonymous gift and gift of the Honourable Charles Lapointe, P.C., inv. 2007.260.1-2

Collection

International Contemporary Art

Old Enemy, New Victim, a scene of hate-filled violence tempered only minimally by the grotesque comedy of a large ape being throttled and attacked by two ravenous beasts, has its source in both political fable and animal sculpture. While the impulse behind the work is clearly La Fontaine, the hyperrealist precision with which silicone and yak hair have been used to construct the animals is the product of skills acquired at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, in Michigan, and honed in the studio of Jeff Koons, for whom Tony Matelli worked for a time as an assistant. “I’m interested in culture, not nature,” the artist says. The fables that Matelli illustrates focus on the rejects of wealthy society, challengers of the social order, and victims of technological progress.

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