Matt Mullican

Untitled, 2003

This work arose from Mullican’s preoccupation with urban space and the creation of virtual cities and worlds. Mullican works with the symbols and old concepts that were used in the explanation of the world. The five parts of this work resemble archive boxes or type cases, which address the reduced character of virtual models. The containers could, however, also make us think of industrial complexes. They point to the loss of old concepts of the world and build on the creation of utopian ideals that remain valid for all time.


In the early 1970s, Matt Mullican studied at the California Institute for the Arts, creating cartographic diagrams, rubbings, posters, system drawings - sometimes under hypnosis. Today, Matt Mullicans oeuvre is considered one of the most influential contributions to contemporary fine art, presenting itself multifaceted and clear, despite its great complexity. It is well structured and bears witness to imagination.


Mullican develops models, programs computer animation, shapes sculptures, makes collages and draws. The artist’s intention is to systematize, to order and to archive the world.

From the 1970s on, he has dealt with sign systems. At the same time, he had himself hypnotized , e.g. in rooms that he was describing in his  trance, in order to share his subjective experiences with others. Later he developed installations which he called “cosmologies”. These cosmologies distinguish themselves by a special language system developed by the artist , in which diagrams are combined with drawings and representations so that they can be shared with others.


From the 1980ies, he has also used new technologies such as the Internet and computers in order to create virtual spaces. These make-believe architectural arrangements are based on urbanistic expertise. 

Mullican’s WT work, which was installed at the Österreichischer Skulpturenpark, was created in the years when the artist was dealing  with the City Project. His  drawings, sketches, installations and videos showing a virtual city or world were much inspired by urban space. He creates reduced, simple, but secret models.


Matt Mullican works with symbols and the ancient concepts of “world explanation”. His pentamerous work W.T. is part of a work type similar to archive boxes or letter cases. These boxes can represent urban development models or a variety of industrial complexes. Their subject matter is the loss of all world concepts and they are based upon the creation of Utopian ideals that remain eternally valid.

Author: Teresa Lošonc 
Plan & Overview: Position 41
Owner: [ARGE Bauwirtschaft]
Biography: Matt Mullican 

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