The Meaning of Things (Who feels the most pain)

Matt Mullican

Matt Mullican - The meaning of things (2014). Courtesy the artist and ProjecteSD Barcelona 15-11

‘Everything that I have to catalogue is actually found where I live. When I say ‘where I live’, I am speaking of both the physical and the psychological world’ Matt Mullican, Grand-Hornu press release, 2020

‘It is not the world that you see is the world that I see representing the world you see’ - Matt Mullican, ProjecteSD, 2015

Systematization, structure and order of his personal vision of the world are central to the artistic practice of Matt Mullican. This is apparent in the work The Meaning of Things (Who feels the most pain), which consists of a series of 676 paper collages. After a number of introductory texts on sheets of standard printing paper, the remaining 600 collages contain a small image framed by organic, hand-drawn, quasi calligraphic marks functioning as ornate frames. The images are derived from the artist’s digital archive in which he continuously and intuitively gathers digital images of movies, video games, sports and multiple situations of violence, sex and empathy in order to further unfold his encyclopedic, visual and graphic universe. The organic drawings framing each image are akin to the drawings of ‘that person’, Mullican’s alter ego when under hypnosis. ‘Through this work, Mullican introduces models of understanding reality, the individual, his life and death and the mediated perspectives with which we understand all things. The world then becomes a map of signs and meanings that make us reflect on the different mechanisms of knowledge through the image. (ProjecteSD, 2015).’

2014 - Set of 676 collages on paper, 29,7 x 21 cm each, Unique work, MM/C 3
Courtesy of the artist and ProjecteSD, Barcelona

Matt Mullican
°1951, Santa Monica, California, United States

Matt Mullican is an American-Venezuelan artist and son of artists Lee Mullican and Luchita Hurtado. His work is concerned with systems of knowledge, meaning, language, and signification. Mullican also works with the relationship between perception and reality, between the ability to see something and the ability to represent it. Since the 1970s, Mullican has been known for his performances done while under hypnosis, through which he channels an alter ego known as 'That Person', who displays extreme and erratic behavior. Mullican's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Haus Der Kunst, Munich; the National Galerie, Berlin; the Stedelijk Museum, Schiedam; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and The Museum of Modern Art, NY. Mullican has taught and lectured at Columbia University, The School of Visual Arts, New York, The Rijksakademie, Amsterdam, The London Institute, Chelsea College of Art and Design, England and Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg, amongst several others. He is represented a.o. by Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Brooke Alexander Gallery, Peter Freeman, Inc. and Tracy Williams, LTD., Mai 36 Galerie, Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Galerie Johann Widauer, Peter Freeman Inc., ProjecteSD, and Galerie Micheline Szwajcer. He lives and works in Los Angeles and Berlin.