The Archive

Alongside documentary evidence of our exhibitions being made The Matt’s Gallery Library and Outset Archive holds films, books, invitations, letters and ephemera relating to artist-led practice from the 1960s to today. It gives significant insights into the working methodology of the gallery and the artists it has worked with over the last 40+ years.

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Items from the Matt's Gallery Archive, currently in storage. Photograph by Carolyn Thompson, 2022.

Items from the Matt's Gallery Archive, currently in storage. Photograph by Carolyn Thompson, 2022.

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The Outset Archive at Matt’s Gallery

The Matt’s Gallery Library and Outset Archive tells the story of the gallery’s inception in 1979 through to the current day. It provides significant insight into the working methodology of the gallery and the artists it has worked with, and shines a light on developments in the London art scene over this period. It is made up of documentation of exhibitions, as well catalogues, films, books, invitations, letters and ephemera relating to artist-led practice from the 1960s.

With support from the Outset Contemporary Art Fund Matt’s Gallery has created a dedicated space in its new building that will become a public resource where visitors can view and access materials it holds. Additional support through the National Archives’ Archives Revealed fund has been secured to begin work towards the next stages making it available for public access.

Matt’s Gallery is fundraising towards cataloguing and sorting its archive to make it ready for public access.

The Matt’s Gallery Library

Alongside its archive Matt’s Gallery holds a significant collection of books relating to artists it has worked with over the years. It is working to create a reference library that will enable public access to this collection.

The Jean Fisher Archive

Matt’s Gallery is a custodian of the archive of the late Jean Fisher. Following her passing in 2016, the Gallery became joint custodian, alongside Fisher’s son Tony and curator Catherine de Zegher, of the archive which has been held at Matt's Gallery since 2018. Comprising 10 boxes of manuscripts, lecture notes, slides and other ephemera, we have been working to activate it.

Fisher was a critic and writer whose work often explored colonial legacies and sites of conflict including Ireland, Native America, the Black Atlantic and Palestine. She championed artists including Francis Alÿs, Sonia Boyce, Willie Doherty, Jimmie Durham, Edgar Heap of Birds, Susan Hiller, Tina Keane, Gabriel Orozco and Steve McQueen. She taught widely including at Middlesex University, Byam Shaw and the Royal College of Art, where she was instrumental in founding the Curating Contemporary Art programme. She had a long-standing and productive working relationship with Matt's Gallery and our director Robin Klassnik, often writing on artists that were shown here and sometimes penning press releases for the gallery.

In May 2022 a monthly reading group led by Michelle Williams Gamaker will begin, drawing on material held in Jean’s archive.