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Matt Mullican “88 MAPS”

Published Autumn 2010
Concept and design: Matt Mullican

Book Description
Format of the box: 62 x 31.5 x 2.5 cm. - 24.4 x 12.4 x 0.9 inches
This book is composed of thirty-six plates of 61 x 61 cm -
- Twelve black and white plates hand-rubbed with graphite crayon
- Two spreads of two black and white plates hand-rubbed with graphite crayon
- Twelve colored silkscreened plates hand-rubbed with graphite crayon
- One color silkscreened spread of two plates hand-rubbed with graphite crayon
- One color silkscreened spread of four plates hand-rubbed with graphite crayon
- One title plate
- One colophon plate
Printed on Dur-O-Tone, Butcher Off-White paper, furnished by French Paper Co., USA
Cardboard and fabric case manufactured by Dermont-Duval, Paris.

Illustrations executed by Ryan Good, Production Manager and assistants at Matt Mullican Studio, New York
and printed by Eloïse Bogard and assistants at Three Star Books, Paris.
Silkscreens by Jean Villevieille, Saint Etienne, France

Produced in an edition of twenty copies, with twelve artist’s proofs.
Each edition is signed and numbered by the artist.
Every plate is individually stamped and numbered.

American artist Matt Mullican delivers an epic overview of forty years of his own symbologies in the artist’s book edition he has created for Three Star Books. It is a masterpiece on several levels. First, in a continuation of other productions by the Parisian press, Mullican deftly shows how the thing itself, the artwork pointing to itself, functions as its own best history. In dozens of colored plates rubbed by hand with a special graphite crayon custom made for the artist in the United States, over wooden and paper matrixes created by the Mullican studio, a catalogue of the principal signs in Mullican’s prolific private software language have been mapped out. A visionary in the employment of computer imaging techniques since the 1970s, Mullican has developed pictures that look like circuit breakers, mapping programs, virtual worlds, and equivocations between language, signs, and pictures. Mullican catalogues his astonishing research into images of arresting essentialism. Executed in a finite range of colors (red blue yellow and green), on American paper made by the French Paper Company, the format of the plates and feel, is like that of a newspaper such as the Wall Street Journal.

Mullican’s new grammar conjures up everything from ancient alphabets and Etch-A-Sketches to pictograms that might decode our own time. Ranging in shape from simple squares, triangles, and circles, to dizzying jumbles of interlocking forms, from works that seem to run parallel to the paper plane, to others that point to extra-terrestrial worlds, Mullican’s cosmology is no less than a vision of a universe both utterly hermetic and private, as well as a clue to the nature of thinking itself.
In elegant counterpoint to a recent Three Star book produced with Italian artist Maurizio Catalan, Mullican too offers an art historical overview and catalogue, of his own work. Mullican’s artworks, however, are each represented text-less, and full bleed on the picture page, as separate and new works, in addition to being reproductions. Their status as new originals is underscored by their reproduction in hand-made form. Playing not with texts and the forms of art history, but with the ability of reproductions to be the material of art, Mullican creates new possibilties for a way to describe art and write art history. The images represent works produced in a wide range of galleries and museums, or for other publishers and editions’ workshops, and in media ranging from concrete, glass, and fabric to many other materials.
Each page sequence, carefully rubbed by hand by assistants from the Three Star Books and Mullican Studio, is both a copy and an original, both a drawing and a print, both a book and a picture. The matrixes were carved in New York and the “printing”, or rubbing, has been done in Paris. The final selection of twenty-eight out illustrations are placed in a box constructed of cardboard and covered with an orange cotton material, a color not found in the book, and decorated with an original drawing by the artist. Some of the pages are double-page folios, others fold out into multiple-panel frames.
Whether seen in light of similar efforts by 16th century mapmakers, or as the latest in virtual imaging techniques, this cosmology by Matt Mullican is a remarkable technical, geometric, and artistic achievement that testifies to the artist’s ability to be both utterly subjective and particular, while offering universal truths.

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