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Matt Mullican

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.

Every color has a specific symbolic value attached to it. For example, green stands for material, blue for the everyday world, yellow for ideas, white and black for language and red for the subjective.

The model of perception that Mullican calls the theory of the five worlds serves him as a system of order for his method of working as an artist. It illustrates the relationship between the world and its representation. The artist is particularly interested in how we charge symbols and systems of symbols with meaning. —Nikolaus Bischoff

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  • Matt Mullican, Untitled (Things change in Heaven - Details 3), 2021

    Acrylic and oil stick rubbing on canvas | 2 parts, total image 200 x 400 cm

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  • Matt Mullican, Untitled (Yellow Monster 18), 2017

    archival digital print, oilstick on canvas | 8 parts, each 37.5 x 53 x 2 cm

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  • Matt Mullican, Untitled (2x2 Subjective Sign), 2015

    oilstick, gouache on canvas, rubbing
    78.74 x 78.74 in (200 x 200 cm)

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  • Matt Mullican, Untitled (2x2 Sign), 2015

    oilstick on canvas, rubbing
    78.74 x 78.74 in (200 x 200 cm)

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  • Matt Mullican, Untitled (Overall Chart: Frame Centered Elements), 2010

    acrylic, oil on canvas | each 244 x 122 cm
    192.13 x 96.06 in (488 x 244 cm)

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  • Matt Mullican, Untitled (Direct Casts), 2005

    bronze cast
    15.75 x 16.14 in (40 x 41 cm)

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  • Matt Mullican, Untitled (Computer Generated Details and Landscapes: 069), 2003

    Duratrans in lightbox
    16.54 x 20.47 in (42 x 52 cm)

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  • Matt Mullican, Untitled (Computer Generated Details and Landscapes; 02/20), 2002

    Duratrans in lightbox
    8.27 x 11.81 in (21 x 30 cm)

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  • Matt Mullican, Untitled (Posters from the Gouaches), 1984

    signpaint on paper
    50 x 38.19 in (127 x 97 cm)

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  • Matt Mullican, Untitled (Model), 2022

    oil stick rubbing and gouache on canvas
    78.74 x 78.74 in (200 x 200 cm)

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