Matthew Ritchie After Lives
October 19 – November 23, 2002
Main Gallery

There are more people alive today than have ever lived in all human history. Together, we are a new thing: a climate, a dimension, a plague, a god. If you believe in reincarnation; there are now more human beings than past souls to fill them, so everyone gets a second chance. If you believe in heaven and hell; both will shortly double in size. If you believe in neither; business goes on as usual, as all of the life that has gone before collapses into this moment. All the stories end and begin again today. But still the dead come back, they always come back. We live among their after lives.

You have felt them in a breath and seen them in clouds, walked through their dissolved bones and eaten them for breakfast. Sometimes they'll even figure out a way to talk to us. You know the routine, low moaning sounds, candles blown out and bathtubs filled up with blood. Screaming apparitions, bruised and gouged with bleeding eyeballs falling out of fractured skulls and snapped bones popping up through ruptured skin. We think they're trying to be scary, to freak us out. But they're just trying to talk to us; they don't have nice clothes and casual Fridays, they don't give a shit about appearances, they're dead. "This is how it is now", they're saying, "We're all fucked up over here! Yesterday we were just like you, snatching breath minute by minute, our reckless blood pumping away, a million stupid things on our minds."

It happens on a perfect day, as the stars fade towards an absolutely normal dawn. No miracles, no last minute premonition. The heart stops without warning, the wounds open silently, flowers to a quiet sun. The water closes over you, the weapon is always on target. The perfect murder, six billion witnesses and not one left alive to tell the tale.

What can you do? In this new body of work the narrative arc that Matthew Ritchie has been working on for the last several years seamlessly dissolves into an ‘information climate' where context and content are helplessly intermingled. Five large paintings, a hundred foot wall drawing and a floor work describe a strange, transformative cycle as a large drowning figure oscillates through phases of birth and death, shifting between the confining solidity of the shore and the murderously infinite possibilities of the sea.

This will be Matthew Ritchie's second solo show with Andrea Rosen Gallery. Since his last show, his work has been exhibited at Dallas Museum of Art, Mass MoCA, Castello Di Rivoli, MoMA, Sammlung Goetz, White Cube, L'ARC/Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Palais de Tokyo, ICA Philadelphia, Kettle's Yard, SFMoMA, CCAC and The Sydney Biennial.

'Games of Chance and Skill': a large-scale permanent installation will open at MIT on October 4, 2002.

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