Matt Mullican

Untitled (people in the world unframed)

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Year 2017
Medium Pen on paper
Dimensions 29.7 x 21 cm
Nominated by Mathew Hale

About the work

Mullican uses a range of media, much of it drawing based, to examine how we perceive the world around us and to demonstrate that ‘reality’ is a construct of our imagination. Stick figures, which have featured in his work since the 1970s, demonstrate his interest in using simple means to explore profound themes. His World Unframed represents the realm of the unconscious, and of automatic action and is one of the cosmologies that he developed in the 1980s. His system of signs and symbols underlie his belief that every world is interconnected and that quotidian paradigms can be dismantled to reveal insights into the relationship between reality and perception. His other four cosmologies are: the Elements, which embraces the realm of nature and the material essence of things; the World Framed, portraying the consciously-driven thought processes and actions by which the world is perceived, analysed and systematised; the Sign which is the realm of symbolism and language; and the Subject, relating to the world of subjective experience and of ideas and feelings.

About the artist:

Born 1951 Santa Monica, Matt Mullican lives and works in New York and Berlin. Graduated from B.F.A. at California Institute of the Arts, Valencia (1974).

Since the 1970s, US artist Matt Mullican has been interested in models for explaining the world. He has developed a complex system of symbols consisting of various pictograms and colors as a means of tackling the question of the structure of the world, and with his system he aims to portray in symbols every aspect of the human condition in different combinations.

Selected solo exhibitions include Entering the Picture, Cultural Institution Gallery, Kula (2020); Universal Perspective, Peter Freeman, New York (2020); Matt Mullican: Living in That World, de Young – Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (2019); Banners, Thomas Schütte Stiftung, Skupturenhalle Neuss (2019); Representing The Work, NC Arte, Bogota (2019); The Feeling of Things, Hangar Bicocca, Milan (2018); and What do they feel?, Cristina Guerra, Lisbon (2018). Selected group exhibitions include Ghosts from the recent past, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2020); Die frühen Jahre des CalArts, Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover (2019); KRONOS AND KAIROS –The times of contemporary art, Palatine, Rome (2019); Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. (2018); Black and White Landscape. A Collection, Gesellschaft für Kunst und Gestaltung, Bonn (2018); Jump Into The Future: Art From The 90’s And 2000’s, The Borgam Donation, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2018); Umrahmung schräg gekippt. Die Sammlung Liaunig in Bewegung, Museum Liaunig, Neuhaus (2018); Skulptur Projekte, Münster (2017); Il tessuto come arte: Antonio Ratti imprenditore e mecenate, Palazzo Te, Mantova (2017); and La Plume et le Crayon: Noir et Blanc, Maison de la Culture, d’Amiens (2016).

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