Matt Mullican: Five Walls

28 April - 19 June 2021
  • Capitain Petzel is pleased to present Matt Mullican’s second exhibition at the gallery, Five Wallsin which the artist continues his investigation of how signifying processes function and the ways in which objects become charged with meaning. This decades-long exploration across various media such as painting, film, sculpture, photography as well as performance art, has led him to establish his own subjective 5-part classification system, which he calls the “Five Worlds”. In this cosmology, each color corresponds to different levels of perception: green stands for material, blue for the everyday world, yellow for ideas, white and black for language and red for the subjective. For this exhibition, Mullican has deliberately chosen to emphasise the individual objects rather than the system, taking this as an opportunity to showcase works which spans fifty years of his practice, with the earliest piece dating back to 1970 and the most recent to merely a couple of days before the opening of this exhibition. The show will recapitulate the artist’s multimedia-based artistic practice, featuring a wide variety of material and subjects, ranging from rubbings to tapestries, from ceramics to flags, virtual reality installations, watercolors and much more.

  • In this past year, the artist has continually devoted himself thoroughly to making art despite the circumstances and producing further exhibitions; he has through this developed new modes of production to further expand his cosmology. Included in the exhibition are four new sets of watercolors on wood, a medium the artist has only recently begun making use of. Entitled Things Change in Heaven, the paintings make reference to his hypnosis performance of the same name, alluding to a key element of his early practice. Both the performances and the paintings deal with the ever-present existential tropes: such as life after death, and heaven and hell. These forms re-appear on textile elsewhere in the show, as well as in his painted icons, characteristic of the ever-present underlying interconnections of his works.

  • Matt Mullican, Untitled (Demon & Angel), 2014

    Matt Mullican

    Untitled (Demon & Angel), 2014 Gouache and oil stick rubbing on canvas
    Two parts
    Each: 200 x 200 cm / 78.7 x 78.7 inches
    € 75,000.00
  • The newest work in the exhibition is a pair of large-scale rubbings named All I See Are Light PatternsIn this work, the artist continues his long use of this unique “frottage” technique, in which the canvas is placed on a cardboard plate, which is then rubbed with an oil stick to transfer an image. Since the plate can be reused for further rubbings, the imagery may reappear in different figurations. The 2021 rubbing depicts the forms of the artist’s usually recognisable world dissolving, and in grayscale, introducing a dystopian element into his world cosmology.

  • Matt Mullican, Untitled (Behind that Person), 2011

    Matt Mullican

    Untitled (Behind that Person), 2011 Gouache and oil stick rubbing on canvas
    191 x 124.2 cm
    75.3 x 48.9 inches
    € 40,000.00
  • Mullican was one of the first artists to make use of computer animation and 3D printing in his works, as...
    Mullican was one of the first artists to make use of computer animation and 3D printing in his works, as early as the 1980s, and continues his explorations with VR and digital animation in this exhibition to further expand the ways of representing his worlds. The VR work Untitled (Overall Chart wrapped on a Sphere from the Inside Out) from 2020 transposes the viewer into a sphere which signifies his world and all its elements, creating a new perspective from which to experience it. Another new work, 3D Overall Chart, similarly allows the viewer to subjectively experience a 3D printed object, also exhibited here, providing multiple vantage points of the structure.
    3D Overall Chart, 2021
    App, Augmented Reality
    240 x 240 x 120 cm / 94.5 x 94.5 47.2 x 17.7 inches, projected into the space
    Edition of 8 plus 3 artist's proofs (#1/8)
  • Matt Mullican, Untitled, 1970

    Matt Mullican

    Untitled, 1970 Airbrush on paper
    Paper dimensions: 64.9 x 77.6 cm / 25.6 x 30.6 inches
    Framed dimensions: 69.5 x 82 cm / 27.4 x 32.8 inches
  • Mullican is considered a member of the “Pictures Generation” and rose to fame in the early 1980s alongside his contemporaries Cindy Sherman, David Salle and Robert Longo, to name a few. The artist has been the subject of many solo shows and retrospectives, namely at the MAC’s – Musée des Arts Contemporains, Grand-Hornu, Belgium (2020); Thomas Schütte Stiftung, Neuss/Holzheim, Germany (2019); de Young Museum, San Francisco (2019); Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan (2018); Kunstmuseum Winterthur (2016); Camden Arts Centre, London (2016); Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2013); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2011); Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2005); Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (1997) and many more. His work is found in numerous international public and private collections, notably the MoMA, New York, Tate Modern, London, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Haus der Kunst, Munich, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris.


    This exhibition is supported by the Stiftung Kunstfonds / Neustart Kultur.


    Exhibition Survey Capitain Petzel Gallery Weekend Berlin 2021 

    Download here