Matt Mullican --
Matt Mullican’s parallel universes have been emerging since the early 1970s as a sociological anthropology of unconscious processes of everyday life. Central to his work is the systematization, structuring, and ordering of personal worldviews that oscillate between subject and object, between a personal and a universal worldview. Mullican’s works circle around the perception as unconscious interpretation of sensible reception of realities.
As a dyslexic, Mullican tries to grant language a significance that goes beyond its code, beyond writing, lending it a transparence in the use of images. The relationship between signs and the signified, the relationship between word and image, indeed signification’s very degree of reality is the object of his work. The pictograms he develops, the icons, are the radical mediatization and recodification of symbolically abbreviated means of communication — just as writing functions as the encoding of processes of communication.
Mullican, who has participated in documenta several times, develops his cosmology as a model representing our lifeworlds and an exemplary attempt of constructing a comprehensive world model according to his subjective point of view, lending it artistic content. In so doing, the artist is fully aware of the emotional original of his cosmology, in various media and materials. Impossible to classify in terms of development, ever since his studies with John Baldessari the artist has continued to add new details to his imaginary universe. With the exploration of construction processes of the world of images and signs surrounding us, he undermines monocausal patterns of interpretation, linear connections and subverts teleological expectations.
For this exhibition, a labyrinthine architecture with colorful painted walls has been installed in the gallery, in which the various levels of cosmology are interlinked with one another using his own theory of color. Within this model, the color green stands for the level of physical elements, blue for the world unframed, yellow for the world framed (creative powers and art), black and white for language and red for the sphere of subjective meaning. The individual spaces of the cosmology are played out in processes that in part emerged under hypnosis. Spatial models like tin sculptures, written canvases, etc. open out-branching layers of subcategorization that in their detail trace out the course of an entire day, menus, or unconscious processes of feeling and thought.
Mullican works with the methods of encyclopedic categorization and archiving, by forcing these concepts over other structures they are made visible. Archetypical issues like heaven, God, life, destiny, material, and spirit, death and hell stand alongside one another and are given no moral evaluation. In its complexity, Mullican’s work contains a tragic moment — in the hopeless attempt to classify the world.