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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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Open Square


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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Luftwerk’s interest in the relationship between color and light is the driving force behind the creation of Open Square. The installation takes the shape of a square - universal in its simplicity; a pure expression of a spatial idea, complete in itself; a shape that can be turned into triangles or rectangles - as the building block for its layout. Consisting of two interconnected square spaces, each painted in contrasting color patterns and illuminated with color-changing light, shift the viewers' spatial recognition, giving the illusion of revealing and dissolving spaces. Developed throughout the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020, the exhibition reflects on the habitat that defines our everyday experience. The duality of light and dark, cold and warm, the cyclical flow of the installation is a contemplation of the physical experiences of interior space and how our perception can shift through color, light, and sound.   


Factory Installed 2021: March 12, 2021 - November 14, 2021
About The Artist

Luftwerk is the artistic collaboration of Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero. Their practice centers on an exploration of light, color, and perception in immersive, experience-based installations. Bachmaier and Gallero take an interdisciplinary approach, experimenting with a spectrum of materials and techniques to advance their artistic medium. Their work intends to shift the viewer’s perceptions of space and site through light, color, and sound, opening new conversations by inviting the public to experience the familiar transform. Since its founding in 2007, Luftwerk has amassed a significant body of work ranging from site-specific installations to experimental projects that interpret data, with immersive artwork at such venues as Chicago’s Millennium Park, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, Mies van der Rohe’s German Pavilion and Farnsworth House, Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory, and more.

Petra Bachmaier holds an MA from the University of Fine Arts of Hamburg, Germany, and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Sean Gallero, originally from the Bronx, studied art and humanities at Lehman College - City University of New York. He continued at SAIC in visual communications, art and technology, and performance.

View artist's portfolio.

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