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Matt Mullican : The Meaning of Things: Who Feels the Most Pain (Paperback)
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Matt Mullican is an American artist and a member of the "Pictures Generation" along with such artists as Troy Brauntuch, Jack Goldstein, David Salle, Jim Welling, Sherri Levine, Cindy Sherman, Louise Lawler, Richard Prince and Robert Longo. His practice addresses systems of knowledge, language, meaning, and signification whilst focusing in upon the relationship between perception and reality, in a sense, the seeing of something and its subsequent representation. The Meaning of Things documents the results of Mulligan?s summer school at the Fondazione Antonio Ratti in Italy. The exhibition revolves around Untitled, a set of four banners made by Mullican for his solo exhibition at Le Magasin, Grenoble 1990, and then shown only one more time due to the large size of each element comprising the work. The banners show a repertoire of stylized figures that, following a code elaborated by the artist, summarize key aspects of reality and human experience. The symbols are divided into five areas: red (subjective understanding), black (language), yellow (arts), blue (the real world as life and meaning we experience without being aware), green (physical elements). The visual language of the banners is extremely immediate, similar to that of commercial logos, urban signage or heraldry?a comparison that feels very appropriate given the setting in which the work is exhibited. Simultaneously, the meaning of the symbols, and the system they form, requires the viewer to develop an understanding of the code elaborated by the artist. The fifth in our continuing series with Fondazione Antonio Ratti, The Meaning of Things once again contributes to the understanding of the processes engaged in by the artist, by looking at the collaborative nature of the workshops and the collective narrative that is created, forming an invaluable resource for students, curators and artists alike.