Cosmic Plant-like Creatures With Hearts As Flowers Of Love And Budding Sexual Organs

My star is a hibiscus flower
Jean Cocteau


Roberto Matta, “Stars of the Garden”

In our universe the stars (boiling deaths) are like faraway pools of energy feeding (with itself) the planetary wombs. But Matta makes us imagine a sky not as primordial abyss cooling the stars and awakening planets amidst endless space. Instead he opens in front of us an exotic planet as a giant flower and bodies of its inhabitants with hearts as organs of love and pulsating organs of lovemaking.

Matta discards the crude absurdities of human mythologies, like Adam’s fertile rib or Eve as a child of rib-womb. And following the artist we start to imagine the sky not as a beautiful blue or a mysterious darkness populated by the clusters of enigmatic shining race of stars, but instead a heaven of flowering green flora over almost human bodies nurtured by chlorophyll not just around them but above as well. In this new (for our imagination) universe the sky is like the second garden – only over almost our heads. Greenness of the sky is, as if a reflection of the garden under the feet and around “us”. The creatures who live here have, as if, developed from plants. For them love and making love are much more important than fight for survival or competition for a place in the social hierarchy. Life under the chlorophyll sky is peaceful and welcoming.

The painter provides us with an alternative story of Adam and Eve, in which human love and making love is blissful and where paradise is not antagonistic to love and amorous pleasures, but the place where sensual, erotic and sexual delights are respected and nurtured. In this universe there is no giant despotic will with its categorical “No” and vengeful condemnation for transgression, which is given in cruel form of the necessity to “work hard” to provide somebody else with profit and wealth.

In Matta’s canvass we see two other-worldly couples – one consists of two adult amorous figures – we see them in the right upper part of the painting, and the other couple – still early teenagers Adam and Eve whom we see in the low left part. Right behind the kids – Adam and Eve we see head and neck of a big bird (probably feeding itself on the green ground) – its closeness to the kids tells us about the peaceful, really paradisiacal atmosphere in this garden of red stars. Here, there is no need for a mighty ruler, who controls life by dosing peace and clashes. Peace is spontaneous here in the land of chlorophyll soil and skies – in the world of the red stars – the hearts of the loving life. Father and mother encourage in their children loving position towards their own bodies and minds and alive creatures in general.

Many people internalized the Biblical picture of the scandalous birth of the human race will feel that Matta’s universe is idealized and unreal, but the longer our race lives – the so called “realism” of our human intuition becomes habitually obedient to political propaganda and patriarchal tastes of tough as teeth leaders of masses. May be, Roberto Matta depicts a reasonable and timely compromise between habitual militancy of human beings towards nature and each other and alternative morality, a serious step towards which started with the unique sensibility introduced to human history by the Christ phenomenon.

We see in Matta’s “Stars of the Garden” that not only hearts and sexual organs in faraway world are marked by star-ness of blood, but the lips – the traces of kisses, and eyes – traces of perception. The holiness of various wombs of the planets, the sacredness and rationality of the very perception of the world – kiss by reality’s very existence.

Matta’s painting depicts a world where the sky reflects life, not filters what is behind it, where the universe bows in front of life, not life in front of universe.


Roberto Matta (1911-2002)