artist / participant
The Kunsthalle Mainz is pleased to announce the opening of a solo exhibition by Matt Mullican. Born in 1951 in Santa Monica, California, Mullican is considered an outstanding figure in contemporary art, with knowledge about and actualization of the world and human experience at the center of his oeuvre. Books Representing Books is the first retrospective of Matt Mullican's extensive work with notes, sketches, and prints.
What are pictures, actually? Are they things that show people or objects, or only illusions which deceive us? Are they messages from the visual world, evidence of tangible existence, or even merely something that we imagine, which has no fixed place except in our minds? The concept artist Matt Mullican explores the genesis of pictures and what effects they have. Ever since he first began to create works of art, he has collected photographs, objects, and all manner of things he finds; he also makes drawings and sketches for his pictures. Mullican assembles these various materials into cosmological charts on knowledge and existence, love and feelings, signs and language, death and birth, which he calls the "Five Worlds." Nowadays he locates many pictures using the Internet, printing out his finds. The resulting series and groups of works are bound into books or spread out into charts. Others appear in finished form outlined in large canvas paintings or spread out into expansive wall friezes.
Books are compendiums of knowledge and time. They contain lists, numbers, texts and pictures. To Mullican, who always carries an A4 notebook around with him, they are an intimate record, a way of indexing and updating one's knowledge. The idea of developing a retrospective exhibition of an artist's book output came about during visits he made to the Kunsthalle in Mainz—mounting the exhibition in the city where Johannes Gutenberg had his workshop seemed to be more than fitting.
Large canvas sheets are suspended on ropes, creating the walls of a room configured as a labyrinth. Mullican most recently mounted a room installation of this kind in the cavernous spaces of the Venetian Arsenal at the Venice Biennale. The canvas features text elements, numbers, drawings of nooses and loops, all works that were created while the artist was under hypnosis, suggesting the absence of cognitive control as well as an underlying striving to achieve meaning and order.
In addition, Mullican is exhibiting a selection of pieces from his personal collection. These include comic books, scrapbooks, and historic works by the Venetian engraver Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778), who, like Mullican, created visions of architecture as brooding explorations of the world.
Curated by Thomas D. Trummer
Events and Lectures: Artist talk with Matt Mullican Wednesday, January 21, 2015, 7pm Thomas D. Trummer (Director Kunsthalle Mainz) in conversation with Matt Mullican