March 9, 2019January 26, 2020

Matt Mullican: Between Sign and Subject

Over the past four decades, Matt Mullican has created a body of work encompassing drawing, collage, painting, photography, video, sculpture, and installation as well as performance under hypnosis. Trying nothing less than to “organize the world” and make sense of his existence, Mullican invented a personal cosmology tin which colors indicate different orders or “worlds.” The first order, identified by the color green, is the material world; the second order, represented by blue, is everyday life; the third order is yellow and refers to culture and science; the fourth order is language and appears in black and white; and the last, most important order is subjective experience, rendered in red. His de Young installation comprises fifty works, including rubbings made by transferring the image of a glass etching onto canvas with acrylic gouache and oil stick; light boxes with computer graphics that map the five worlds; and bulletin boards with found household objects, studio drawings, comics, and charts that represent the visual system with which Mullican attempts to categorize the world around him.

Image: Matt Mullican, "Untitled (Computer Project)" (detail), 1989. Ilfochrome classic print, 18 computer generated images in lightbox, 18 parts, each 36 x 48 x 7 in. (91.4 x 121.9 x 17.8 cm). Courtesy the artist and Peter Freeman, Inc. New York / Paris