Currently Closed
Marvin Touré
the blood is the water.
View Exhibition
Catalina Schliebener Muñoz
Deep, Deep Woods
View Exhibition
Isla Hansen
How to Get to Make Believe
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Andrea Peña
States of Transmutation
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Asim Waqif
Assume the Risk
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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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Andrea Peña

States of Transmutation

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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Blurred lines. Alternative definitions. Mixed mediums. In States of Transmutation, Andrea Peña melds sculpture, choreography, and sound into a “universe” that explores the tension of a posthuman epoch from a queer and embodied perspective. Using silicone, aluminum, metal chain, rock, concrete, industrial hardware, and kinetic elements, Peña designs an environment that embraces notions of fluidity by challenging the way society considers the physical dimension of the body. 

At once deeply human and starkly industrial, the work imparts visceral sensations that bring viewers into their own bodies, all while questioning the very notion of “the body” itself. The act of questioning is, after all, where Peña’s work lives. A celebrated choreographer and visual artist, Peña is known for her political examination of the places between definitions.  

In Peña’s universe, the audience is here to explore the intersection of humans and technology. This is the post-industrial body—complete with posthuman prosthetics, pleasure and pain dialogues, and manifestations that extend beyond gender. But even in her decentering of the human experience, this is not science fiction, nor is it an examination of people becoming machines. Instead, it is a conversation where Peña invites the audience’s eyes, ears, and nervous system to the very core of this complex convergence. 

As viewers move through the space, they are met not with individual works of art, but rather several components of a whole work—much like movements comprising a symphony. The seemingly disparate parts of the whole work in harmony—sometimes through dissonance—to create the very questions that Peña asks of herself and of her audience: how does the individual express itself within this environment that is efficiency-driven and highly industrialized?” 

At its core, States of Transmutation is a call and response. A reflection and re-definition. A framing and reframing. For all its sonic and kinetic movement, Peña’s symphony presents opposing restraint and dissonance. It is this tension, these tiny pinpricks in the fabric of what is known, that offers the possibility of something new and unexamined.    

Viewers will undoubtedly leave with more questions than they have answers. And that is exactly the point. 

Peña was selected for exhibition by a panel of Mattress Factory alumni artists through International Open Call. Mattress Factory believes that alumni artists, those artists who have completed a residency and exhibition with us, know better than anyone what our resources and capacity can accomplish and how special our community is. The panel offers a perspective unlike any other, one that is deeply familiar with the museum, engaged in many aspects of the contemporary art field, and invested in pushing our exhibitions program in new directions.  The artist alumni panelists were Vanessa German, Sohrab Kashani, Christopher Meerdo and Sarah Oppenheimer.


September 15, 2023 - December 29, 2024


500 Sampsonia, 4th Floor

Image by Tom Little, courtesy of Mattress Factory
About The Artist

A hybrid Latinx artist, Andrea Peña was originally born in Bogota, Colombia and has carved her practice in the territory of Tiohti:áke, Montreal. As director of the multidisciplinary company AP&A (Andréa Peña & Artists), her practice as designer and choreographer, merges the body and materiality in performative, digital and sculptural works to create living arts universes. Andrea is recognized in Canada and internationally for her creations as critical, alternative and spatial universes that break with our notions and conceptions of a sensitive humanity, and engage in rich encounters between conceptual research and a highly physical and material approach. Working across mediums, her works intersect questions around the role of the sensible body in dialogue with external design environments and situations; utilizing choreographic knowledge beyond performative contexts.  


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