Danny Matthys

Closed Number Series / Closed Letter Series


Werk - Closed Number Series / Closed Letter Series
Artist / Artist group
Danny Matthys
Closed Number Series / Closed Letter Series
video, Analog video
Material / Technique
Betacam SP, b/w, mono
Dimensions / Duration
ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien

»Closed Number Series / Closed Letter Series« is a short video work, which consists of two consecutive black and white recordings. The first part shows the rotating disc of a telephone, and a hand that dials all the numbers from 0 to 9. In the second part, a pair of hands punches in all 26 letters of the alphabet on an old Italian typewriter manufactured by Olivetti.

The focus of this work by Belgian artist Danny Matthys is the exploration of time and space. He analyzes structures, which depict temporality: the two systems – numbers and letters – each form closed areas. As cultural techniques that already reflect the flow of time symbolically, via the processual nature of counting and writing temporal distance can also be visualized. Matthys, who – as he says himself – is fascinated by temporal structures, utilized the medium of video for this methodological research.[1] In the early 1970s, he was one of the first artists in Belgium, who used this medium and the famous Sony Portapak video system for single- and multi-channel installations. Originally a painter, Matthys used the democratized technology of video to pursue his conceptual approach.

Although he is still an active artist, Matthys stopped working with the medium of video in the 1980s. Instead, he has returned to working mainly on painting, in collaboration with his partner.

[1] Bart De Baere, »Danny Matthys« (Ghent: Imschoot, 1989), p. 107.

Author: Dorothea Deli

About the artist/s