Matt Mullican: Beyond the Planetarium, presented by Triple Canopy

  • Location:
    Artists Space, 38 Greene Street, New York, New York, 10013, US

Matt Mullican discusses the collisions of real and virtual space in his work with digital and interactive media in the past twenty years.

"I went from being surrounded by things—dealing with how we name them and how we experience our environment through naming—to the opposite end of the spectrum: starting with nothing, then calling the objects into being."
—Matt Mullican, "Planetarium"

For Triple Canopy's tenth issue, And Yet It Moves, Matt Mullican collaborated with computer programmer Patrick Smith to create "Planetarium," a navigable scale model of the solar system. Mullican first experimented with digital environments in 1991, when he made Five into One, a virtual city constructed in accordance with his personal visual vocabulary and cosmological order. Exploring that city, Mullican was transfixed by his ability to leave the earth's surface and travel into nothingness. "I would fly upward," he says, "farther and farther into the sky, beyond the stratosphere, into pure, white, infinite space. I would go on forever, so far away from this city I had created that I couldn't find my way back. I became curious about where, exactly, I was when I was out there, in the middle of nowhere." This experience of unbounded space became a leitmotif in later works. At Artists Space Mullican will present and discuss his many explorations of virtual space—and the strange space between the virtual and the real—and examine their relationship to his iconographic sculptures, prints, and installations, as well as his performances under hypnosis. 
Matt Mullican was born in 1951, in Santa Monica, California, and currently lives in Berlin. His work has been exhibited extensively in the US and internationally. Recently, his work was included in "The Pictures Generation, 1974–1984" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009) and the 2008 Whitney Biennial; it has also been exhibited at the Drawing Center, New York (2008); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2005); Ludwig Museum, Cologne (2005); and Museu Serralves, Porto (2001). Mullican's work is currently the subject of a solo exhibition at the STUK Kunstencentrum in Leuven, Belgium, which will be traveling to de Appel, Amsterdam, and Haus der Kunst, Munich.