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Andrea Peña
States of Transmutation
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Asim Waqif
Assume the Risk
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Shohei Katayama
As Below, So Above
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Doreen Chan
HalfDream: Another Room
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After School

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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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Pepe Mar



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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In this body of work, Mar absorbs, and ultimately scatters back to his viewer, the layered and disparate historical references which pollinate his career. He cites the history of art and Indigenous artistic practices; of fashion and the queer club scene of the last forty years; of the Mattress Factory itself; and of his own fifteen year practice. Creating a series of custom textiles with images borrowed from these diverse sources, Mar collages, sews, and paints this material, and ultimately brings together these distinct imageries to derive entirely new contexts from the recombined originals.

Central to Mar’s process are humanoid figures he calls “Paprikas.” These characters feature throughout his work, and they serve the role of mythological devourers who ingest and digest visual references from the many fonts of inspiration which inform Mar’s practice. For Dragonfruit, Mar creates a new generation of Paprikas made predominantly of leather, harnesses, and chains purchased from second-hand stores with close ties to the LGBTQ community, allowing references to the queer club, bondage, and leather scenes to bubble up to the surface of his practice.

Dragonfruit engages in world-building at a massive scale, where Paprikas take in all that surrounds them only to expel it into the world as new matter. Mar collapses time into one continuous moment, threading past and present through his visual references and laying flat the entirety of his career between then and now. The exhibition encapsulates all things that have seeded Mar’s practice, an Encyclopedic Palace of the World, which puts on display the ordered chaos of Dragonfruit’s own creation.


Factory Installed: September 27, 2019 - September 5, 2020
About The Artist

Pepe Mar excavates the ritual narratives inherent in secondhand stores, science fiction, celebrity, commercial design, and social media to create abstract and anthropomorphic barometers of contemporary culture. His rich, experimental process recalls the history of assemblage and painting. The artist's work is committed to a personal and universal exploration of cultural alienation.

Mar was born in Mexico and lives and works in Miami, Florida. He received his BFS from California College of the Arts, San Francisco. Mar attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine and earned his MFA from Florida International University in 2012. Mar has participated in the Bronx Museum International Residency Program, the Banff Residency in Canada, and the ISCP Residency in New York. He was the recipient of the Andy Warhol Foundation Wavemaker grant, a Pollock-Krasner grant, and South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship. Recent Solo exhibitions include, Excess of Sleep Produces Monsters at David Castillo Gallery, Miami Beach and Man of the Night at Locust Projects, Miami.

More from this Artist

More from this Exhibition

You're Not the Boss of Me / About Place

"Taking good care of your things leads to taking good care of yourself"

All is Not Forgotten

The Other Apartment

Night Blooms


Give artists the time, space and resources to create remarkable works of art that help us see our world in new ways.

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