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After School

Teen Art Cooperative
Our Mission

The Mattress Factory is an artist-centered museum, international residency program and renowned producer and presenter of installation art. We say “yes” to artists, offering time and space to dream and realize projects in our hometown, Pittsburgh, PA. We invite audiences from around the world and around the corner to step inside, immerse and connect with the artistic process.

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Deborah Aschheim

On Memory

This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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Artist Statement

On Memory makes something tangible from the artist's ephemeral memories. Her installation exploring the limits of memory takes as its impetus her grandfather's struggle with Alzheimer's disease. During her residency, Aschheim decided to act as both a "research scientist" and her own "subject." Noting the involuntary way that memories appear, Aschheim observed her own thought process and then tried to map it.

On walls near the gallery's elevators, she placed bits of Mylar on which she had typed accounts of memories varying wildly in scope and chronology. Loosely connecting these scraps and interspersed nostalgic family photographs is a painted web of blue and purple lines. In addition, Aschheim crafted sculptures from vinyl tubing woven into intricate, nest-like webs -- "nerve-cell" sculptures that fill the large gallery. Lights within them suggest that memories are "lights turning on" in our brains. Inside each mass of tubing is a pod-like construction housing a small monitor playing home videos of Aschheim's family. It's as if we have walked into the mind of a stranger and been asked to sort through the data; one inevitably questions whether one's own memories alter our interpretations of hers.



About The Artist

Deborah Aschheim received her BA in Anthropology from Brown University and a MFA from the University of Washington. She lives and works in Los Angeles. Her installations—immersive sculptural environments that connect architecture and biology—address themes of memory, experience, perception, and neuroscience.

Her solo exhibitions include OPC, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Barrick Museum at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Suyama Space, Seattle; San Diego State University Art Gallery; Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles; and Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach. She has created permanent public artworks for Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, Downey, CA; Amazon, Seattle, WA; the City of Sacramento and for the Los Angeles Police Department.

Artist residencies include The MacDowell Colony; Headlands Center for the Arts; McColl Center; Bemis Center and the Roswell Artist-in-Residence program. Aschheim was in the inaugural Hellman Visiting Artist at the Memory and Aging Center in the Neurology Department at UCSF from 2009-2011 and has received grants from the Center for Cultural Innovation, the California Community Foundation and the City of Los Angeles.


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