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The Meaning of Things

This artist’s book is the book-form of a work by Matt Mullican, « The Meaning of Things (who feels the most pain?) » (2014), con sisting of 676 collages and texts on sheets of standard printing paper.

At the approximate center of each collage is a small image that appears to be a printout of an image procured from the Internet. Around the images are hand-drawn, quasi-calligraphic marks (in black only), curved, giving the impression of an « organic » form in the manner of ornate, rococo frames. The series develops a narrative of interests, practices and collective representations that suggest and disavow each other. Mullican deftly challenges this simple to-and-froing of « virtual » and « real » by suspending the idea that only through the material/physical printing out of the digital images, the content of the images is « restored » back into the « real »—to grasp the « meaning of things » comes at the price of « feeling the most pain ».