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Untitled (Cosmology)
Acrylic and oil stick on canvas
154 x 204 cm
Inv. Nr. 136
Photo: © Peter Lemmens, Courtesy Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Antwerp

Born in 1951 in Santa Monica, California, USA
Lives and works in New York City, New York, USA, and Berlin, Germany

A former student of John Baldessari at the California Institute of the Arts, which he graduated from in 1974, Matt Mullican has tried ever since to “unravel [his] own thought processes and those of others.” His work, ranging from performance to installation to computer generated images, and from sculpture to drawing above all, examines the methods used by humankind to interpret reality, feel empathy for images and project itself onto them. He attempts to define reality and its representations through an artistic systemization and encyclopaedic approach of collecting, creating and ordering elements. Over the years, he has designed a personal language made of formal and symbolic elements combined with a declension of five recurrent colours (green, blue, yellow, black, and red), each referring to a different type of perception. His vocabulary includes symbols from different cultures and inspirations, scientific diagrams, and pictograms such as matchstick men. This codified system aims at appropriating and organizing the world through a personal cosmology where each element intertwines. Furthermore, and in a more objective way, he uses hypnosis as a distancing device to access another level of reality. Most of his works, especially the performances based on automatic writing and drawing, are created while in a trance and under the influence of his other personalities, which he defines by the generic term “that person.” Untitled (Cosmology) is part of his endeavour to map his vision of the world.