27 April - 30 June 2012
|© Matt Mullican|
Two into One becomes Three , 2011
rubbing, acrylic and oil stick on canvas,
70 panels, dimensions variable, MM11003.
(installation view at Klosterfelde, Berlin, 2012)
Two into One becomes Three
27 April – 30 June 2012
Klosterfelde is pleased to present Two into One becomes Three (2011),
Matt Mullican’s fourth solo-show with the gallery, opening during this
year’s Berlin Gallery Weekend. The work on view, comprised of 70
individual large-scale panels (oil-stick and acrylic on canvas), is
featuring one of the artist’s signature techniques, the rubbing. While
previously exhibited at the Centre Pompidou Metz in one piece
commissioned for a specially dedicated grand museum wall, here, the
entire gallery is being taken over by this visually compelling and
almost overwhelming site-specific spatial installation.
In his body or work, spanning various media from drawing to installation
and performance, Matt Mullican (American, born 1951, currently living
and working in Berlin) deals with the perceptions of reality, the
imaginary and the subconscious, and possibilities of its representation.
For nearly four decades now, the artist aims to structure and organize,
to grasp and explain life and the entire universe in all its aspects.
It is the rich world of natural phenomena and human experiences, of the
material up to the subconscious, he encyclopedically charts and
visualizes in his very personal idea of a cosmology. He utilizes both
found imagery as well as his own complex arsenal of images, signs and
symbols. Literally everything is categorized according to the artist’s
idiosyncratic color scheme: red – the subjective, black – language,
green – the elements, blue – the world unframed or the subconscious, and
yellow – the world framed or the arts and human knowledge.
Two into One becomes Three represents an homage to the ‚yellow world,’
the ‚world framed,’—to the arts as the recontextualized, the
iconography, together with humanistic and scientific knowledge. Here,
Mullican combines imagery directly taken from plates of the influential
18th-century volumes Encyclopédie and L’art d’écrire, edited by the
French intellectual Denis Diderot in the era of Enlightenment (an early
pharmacy, a historic roundhouse for the storage of train engines,
examples of calligraphy, chemical charts, the world of animals, geology
and the oral act of communication) in combination with the artist’s own
pictograms (symbols for the elements, the subject, life and death,
heaven and hell etc., and a demonstration of how a physical body
successively becomes an image).
This installation is many things at once: print, honoring the rubbing as
the most ancient way of reproducible media, drawing, painting,
sculpture and architectural intervention. Different traditions and
references come to mind, such as Ray and Charles Eames’ pioneering
multi-media exhibition designs, the largeness and boldness of Pop Art
paintings by Andy Warhol or James Rosenquist, Richard Serra’s massive
architectural sculptures, or Bruce Nauman’s claustrophobic corridor
pieces. The primal human impulse of leaving a mark, to decorate walls
and architecture is being explored as well, from cave paintings to
ancient Egypt up to today’s urban Graffiti scenes. Mullican himself sees
his work as "very American—frontal, theatrical and big.” Thus, the
exhibition becomes his very personal examination of the gallery space’s
old-world character vs. the neutrality of the white cube.