In this performative lecture, in parallel with the presentation of Minimal Resistance. Between late modernism and Globalisation: artistic practices during the 80s and 90s, Mullican reviews and comments on some of his performances under hypnosis, in which he recreates, as he does in his visual works, the logic of an unstable and irrational world.
In his work, Matt Mullican (Santa Monica, California, 1951) creates atlases of graphic signs with which to analyse experience and knowledge in images. In a decade such as the 80s, in which the debate about representation becomes a primary battlefield, the divide between subject and object, or between sign and meaning, in Mullican’s cosmologies, takes on special relevance.
In 1978, the artist began to make a series of drawings during performances delivered while under hypnosis. In these performances his behaviour, which showed autistic and schizophrenic tendencies, alludes to a certain nervousness found in contemporary subjects. Not only do these performances inquire into behaviour and project a certain identity, they also reveal themselves to be a way of “living” inside the image, of penetrating the vast iconographic world designed by the artist. Mullican, unlike the other artists of the so-called “Pictures” generation with whom he is frequently associated, does not show images as if they were a mere theatre of surface. His pictograms, icons and maps, linked to very diverse discourses and languages, from mathematics to literature, seek to respond to the question of what is beyond the image. In other words, they are symbols but also experiences; they are objects, but also part of the subject. In this regard, all of Mullican’s work revolves around the idea of how to once again think about images when we are surrounded by images.
Matt Mullican attended California Institute of the Arts. He has had shows at The Kitchen, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, MoMA, Portikus, List Art Center, Stedelijk Museum, Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Serralves, Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Centre Georges Pompidou and the Ludwig Museum, to name just a few. The most significant collections around the world have pieces by Mullican, and as of 2013 he is included in the Collection of Museo Reina Sofía.