“The Feeling of Things” is Mullican’s biggest exhibition ever, now @ Pirelli HangarBicocca in Milan

Text by: Charlotte Garlaschelli

Is there a feeling about things? How do humans perceive the world? These difficult questions have been presented very well by Matt Mullican in his forty-year-long work as an artist, now exhibited in a major retrospective at Hangar Bicocca in Milan. With truly impressive numbers – more than 5000 works, 6000 objects installed on a surface of 5.500 sqm – the Pirelli space trails a majestic diffusion of art’s importance in contemporary society.

The artist’s research and the very structure of his exhibition reflect the rich theme of subjectivity in our perception of reality; a plunge into his works has allowed to build a relationship between five chromatic areas of ideas. “Mullican’s work is a perfect match for the Hangar space. No walls, but a single big sculpture to walk around”, as states curator Roberta Tenconi. An impressive rectangular architectural structure allows the visitors to examine and explore a vast iconographic material and a mix of media used for the exhibition and its installations. Sculptures, paintings, works in glass, metal, stone, neon, photographs, virtual reality, lightboxes, videos, but also a performance by Matt Mullan, who will undergo a process of hypnosis on May 26 with hypnotist Vicente De Moira.

Five colourful worlds will represent a real cosmology of the American-Venezuelan artist’s universe, analysing different levels of the way we perceive and understand reality. Green for physical and material elements; Blue for everyday life; Yellow for the arts; Black for language; Red for subjective understanding. These analytic areas will also be supported by an exploration of the unconscious dimension through hypnosis. Knowledge through a state of trance and deep concentration, in which Mullan feels ageless and asexual, but always with a strong dedication to the creation of his artworks.

Four hanging banners created in 1990 for Le Magasin in Grenobe welcome us to the exhibition space, where the Red colour dominates around the labyrinthine works dedicated to human psyche. Subsequently Black, Yellow, Blue and Green come along with all Mullan’s iconic works: Untitled (Learning from That person’s Work) (2005), Details from Fictional Reality (1973), Untitled (Birth to Death List) (1973),Magic and Alchemy, M.I.T. Project (1990), Elevated (2005), Sleeping Child (1973), Light Patterns (1972) and finally Rubbings, a series of frottage paintings made starting from 1984, which cover an entire Box. A cube that may be a reference to the Black Box, where elements in order can hardly be detected.

The exhibition will be open to the public until September 16. It will host the artist for the hypnosis performance on May 26 and a lecture of 3, a concert and a video projection on May 10.

The Feeling of Things by Matt Mullican
curated by Roberta Tenconi
From April 12 to September 16 2018
@ Pirelli Hangar Bicocca
Via Chiese 2, Milan
Free admittance

Courtesy Mai 36 Galerie, Zurich, Photo: Peter Baracchi