Allan McCollum and Matt Mullican
March 6 - April 24, 2004
The Christine Burgin Gallery is pleased to announce the premier exhibitionof "Your Fate," a collaborative project by Allan McCollum and Matt Mullican.
"Your Fate" is a system for answering unanswerable questions, or perhapsdivining your future. In the exhibition, a unique collection of symbols ispresented in a number of different forms, including a set of twenty-fivespecially imprinted dice. The dice are accompanied by a manual, which aidsin the interpretation of the symbols, and game tables that may be used onsite for casting individual readings. Also included in the exhibition is acatalogue of framed drawings of the symbols and a large-scale model for afuture die that would incorporate all the symbols into one object.
McCollum writes about this collaboration:
"Most of us have our interior pictures of the world mapped in a sketchy,slapdash way, and we allow the gaps in our understanding to be ignored,glossed over, or filled in by others whom we imagine to have greaterexpertise. As conditions can change, our worldviews can change, often fromday to day: faith is broken, dreams are shattered, luck rewards, experienceteaches. If this haphazard process could be made visible, what might it looklike? One way to picture it would be to survey Matt's work from the lastthree decades.
"For Matt, the process itself of constantly reordering the sense of one'sworld is crucial -- even more important to him, I sometimes feel, than theproduction of art objects. When he suggested we collaborate on a project, itoccurred to me that we might utilize my more materialist inclination toinvent some sort of "finished product" that could help one repeatedly reworkone's worldview as a matter of course: an oracle, or a divination tool.After all, isn't every good artwork an amalgamation of signs pointing toboth the past and the future, and capable of reconfiguring it's meaning witheach successive engagement?
"Matt has always depicted his cosmology in diagrammatic schemes andpictograms, so the vocabulary was already there for us; all we needed to dowas create a system that worked. First, we pooled our resources andassembled a temporary pastiche of existing divination techniques: runestones, tarot cards, the I Ching: we considered everything from usingcomputers to using a rock in a tin can with yes on one side and no on theother. Matt then reworked these bits and pieces using the generic signs andlogos we see everywhere in contemporary life, in the way he always does inhis work, and expanded their meanings into universal categories."
Mullican adds to this:
"Allan thought it would be interesting if we invented a divination device,something to tell the future with. This is not something I would have doneon my own due to the heebie-jeebies element of fortune-telling and itsrelationship to my own cosmology and my work with hypnosis. But since itcame from Allan it gave me permission to make such a thing. Allan and I havebeen interested in psychic phenomena for as long as we have known eachother, and considering how it plays into peoples' knowledge of the world isimportant to us both. I also liked the game aspect. My work has referred togames for over twenty years but this is the first game that I have helped toinvent."
The twenty key "Your Fate" dice are imprinted with symbols on one face only,making the odds of a symbol landing face up one in six; four "variable" dicehave symbols on two sides. Included in the installation is a set of threedice tables created by Mullican and McCollum for this exhibition. Based ontraditional tables for the throwing of dice, each of these three tables isconfigured with a different arrangement of panels covered with colored felt.In Mullican's cosmology, colors represent specific interpretive spaces, andin the context of "Your Fate," the colors allow an additional layer to areading of the dice.
Mullican explains the interpretation of the colors as follows:
"The First table is yellow. Yellow represents the framed world, thecontext, the here and now, the immediate context, your consciousness.
"The second table is yellow in the center surrounded by blue. Blue is theworld unframed, all that you are not aware of, the street.
"The third table is yellow in the center surrounded by red, green, blue andblack. Red represents the subject or subjectivity, the sign in your mind.Black is language, it exists primarily only as a sign. Green is materiality, the elements.
Both McCollum and Mullican have exhibited their work extensively since theearly 70s. McCollum's work is included in the current exhibition SingularForms (Sometimes Repeated) at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Mullicanis completing a commission for the Museum Ludwig in Cologne and has recentlyperformed utilizing hypnosis at The Museum of the Moving Image in Geneva andthe Kunsthalle, Zurich.
Allan McCollum and Matt Mullican
YOUR FATE, 2004
Installation views, Christine Burgin Gallery, New York
For further information, please visit the Project Website.