We are pleased to exhibit for the first time an ongoing series of works on paper by Simon Mullan in our 13th installment of Berliner Luft, on view Monday, August 10–Saturday, August 15, 11 AM–6 PM.
Mullan predominantly appropriates objects associated with labor, disrupting and formally altering them in his signature technique, which renders function obsolete. This performance of working with “work” materials prompts a discourse on economy, authority, social order, and identity.
In Berliner Luft, Mullan shifts to a more expressive narrative that incorporates gestural compositions of acrylic, spray paint, and grout over detailed pencil illustrations and studio slag. Initiated in 2015, the series of drawings developed in die fuge result from the artist’s contemplation during intervals between studio practice and gallery exhibitions. The standard poster-format papers have been spread over the floor of his workspaces, relocated from Hackney Downs to East Berlin and his current factory studio in Angermünde, Germany. Papers are picked up and reworked regularly. Grids of thick grout, airbrushed loops, and pencil scribbles are applied actively, with some momentum and thrust. The relationship with his wife, Ekaterina Pronina, is evident in her precise pencil renderings, to which Mullan responds in turn. An inner-directed, romantic approach is apparent throughout the series, contrasting with the more severe and polished minimalism of his material object-oriented installations.
Installed above the entrance to the gallery since our post-shutdown reopening in April hangs a flag work by Mullan titled Alles wird gut (Everything Will Be Alright). The statement, hand-cut and sewn onto a bold green backdrop, encapsulates the artist’s enduring position. It is a unifying message, with all of society finding itself in a relatable position as our morale is similarly challenged: We are all in this together."