On Thursday 18th of July at 6.30 pm the Fondazione Antonio Ratti will inaugurate Matt Mullican’s show The Meaning of Things, curated by Simone Menegoi and produced by the Foundation.
The exhibition will be open until September 6th, from Tuesday to Sunday, 4 – 8 pm, at Spazio Culturale Antonio Ratti (the former church of San Francesco) in Como.
The Meaning of Things revolves around Untitled, a set of four banners made by Mullican for his solo exhibition at Le Magasin, Grenoble (1990), and then showed only one more time due to the large size of each element (each banner measures nearly 14 meters high by 7 meters wide). The banners, which will be displayed along the central nave of the church, contain a repertoire of stylized figures that, following a code elaborated by the artist, relate to every aspect of reality and human experience, from the most immediate to the more abstract.
The symbols are divided into five areas: green (physical elements), blue (the real world as life and meaning), yellow (arts), black (language) and red (subjective understanding). The visual language of the banners is extremely immediate, similar to that of commercial logos, urban signage or heraldry – a comparison that feels very appropriate given the setting in which the work is exhibited. However, simultaneously, the meaning of the symbols, and the system they form, require the viewer to develop an understating of the code elaborated by the artist.
As Mullican never grows tired of repeating, his complex cosmology is in reality a meta-cosmology, an artistic reflexion about the way we collectively construct an image from reality: « My cosmology is a model for a cosmology; it is not a cosmology. A cosmology is a social phenomenon, not a formal one; it is a belief structure, a value structure between people». A structure as much as that of Christian religion, for instance, that has determined the architecture of the building where the exhibition will take place.
Between the banners there will be tables; they will show prints and sculpture-vitrines, offering the spectator some additional tools to interpret the code, a complex “system of systems” invented by the artists. The exhibition will be completed by a series of new cosmological schemes drawn on paper, and four videos: two are taken from “That Person”, the alter-ego of the artist when he is under hypnosis, and two are digital animations that illustrate a sort of ideal city designed by Mullican through his cosmology, or, to say it with his words, «a chart as a city».