Gordon Matta-Clark worked a lot in/with/on derelict slum buildings. In the Sixties and Seventies much of the city of New York was down on its heels, with many abandoned buildings and impoverished neighborhoods. His artistic interventions inevitably disappeared when the building itself would come to be demolished. The interventions were transient, site-specific, and thus not sell- or buyable. In his “cuttings”, or building cuts, this transitory nature was a given, and such too was the case with Antwerp’s Office Baroque, though in a letter from the artist to Flor Bex in July ’76 it seems he hoped to finally realize a cutting that would not be radically temporary. He wished that the project could develop over time so that its possibilities might be more fully sensed and explored: ‘the idea of making the possible extendible’, as he terms it in his letter to Bex.

Nonetheless, on July 2nd 1980 Office Baroque was razed to the ground. In the next day’s Gazet Van Antwerpen, under the headline ‘Ogier in a Heap of Rubble’, readers got this description:

“Yesterday the heavy wrecker’s ball laid into the broad premises between the Palingbrug and the Willem Ogierplein. For Willem - the 17th century Flemish playwright - it was the umpteenth effrontery. Half of his steps had already been lost making way for an underground garage, and Monday the rubble was up to his ears.”

And on the audacity: “The demolition workers got well and truly stuck in with pulling down the quayside façade. Flying debris even reached to the opposite side of the wide Ernest Van Dijkkaai. When great means are employed the result is correspondingly heavy. The near-entire façade was leveled in a thrice.”*

Click here to read more articles on the demolition.

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