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Matt Mullican

We have great pleasure in presenting the exhibition talking the talk walking the walk with works by the New York artist Matt Mullican (born in Santa Monica in 1951) in our gallery. Over three decades, Matt Mullican has created an exceptionally complex oeuvre, articulated in different media such as painting, sculpture, drawing and photography, as well as videos, performances and installations. Mai 36 Galerie has represented the artist since 1988.

Since the end of the 1970s, Matt Mullican has been intensively occupied with performances under hypnosis. His interest in the trance was aroused by his work with the line-drawn figure Glen, which represents a kind of alter ego of the artist. Mullican began to prove the existence of his self-created figure in model-like line drawings: by recording the fictitious life of Glen on paper, Mullican invested the figure with a life of its own. With this extensive series of drawings, he attempted to find the key to the relationship between artistic work and processes of projection.

During the 1980s, Mullican's primary interest shifted to the development of a complex system of signs or symbols with a claim to a comprehensive cosmology. In 1996, however, he resurrected his hypnosis project with fifteen performances in Brussels, which were recorded on video. In a state of trance, Mullican represented that other person with whom he was occupied, as a figure, in his work. His aim was to enable us to experience the pattern that evolves out of our memories and fantasies, not in the sense of a subjective psychoanalytic process, but on the basis of typical situations in which we operate within the context of meaningful symbols.

The installation Learning from that Person’s Work: Hallway consists of an extract from the large-scale spatial installation first shown at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne in 2005, which – arranged like a labyrinth – comprised drawings and collages mounted on sheets, as well as videos of performances under hypnosis. In Hallway, the central motto of Mullican's artistic work: "I Love To Work for Truth and Beauty" is proclaimed with a good deal of emotionalism. Whereas these concepts in Mullican's work have not hitherto played any explicit role, they are now made articulate through the experiences of "that other person" made under hypnosis. Mullican equates the concentrated, deliberate act of artistic creation with the state of trance under hypnosis, since he regards actions and processes of which we are not aware as fundamental for all artistic creative processes.

Matt Mullican is one of the most challenging american artist of the 80ies and was represented in several international exhibitions in the last 30 years. His works are located in important private and public collections all over the world.

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