Matt Mullican

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Performance under hypnosis
Tate Modern, London
January 27, 2007

Matt Mullican gave a performance while in a state of hypnosis as part of the UBS Openings: Saturday Live, a programme of live performances and film at Tate Modern. Matt Mullican, whose work also includes drawing, sculpture and installation, has been using performance since the 1970s and hypnosis since 1978 to investigate the nature of reality, behaviour and association. His performances under hypnosis deal with questions of who he is and what lies within him and how hypnosis alters his identity in so-called reality. He has also long been fascinated by the relationship between information and perception as it is filtered through emotive or unconscious associations. The symbols, shapes and repetitive patterns that he paints during these highly concentrated performances focus on such concerns. Mullican likens the focused, deliberate act of artistic creation with the state of trance under hypnosis, since he regards actions and processes of which we are not aware as fundamental for all artistic creative processes. Although these events are unpredictable by their very nature, painting under hypnosis is often only a part of the performance.