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Marvin Touré
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the blood is the water.
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Catalina Schliebener Muñoz
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Deep, Deep Woods
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Isla Hansen
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How to Get to Make Believe
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Andrea Peña
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States of Transmutation
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Asim Waqif
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Assume the Risk
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Shohei Katayama
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As Below, So Above
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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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Andrew Ellis Johnson

OVER THERE

2011

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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Curated by Tavia La Follette

Artist Statement

OVER THERE responds to historical and contemporary notions of liberty, here and “over there,” especially in light of recent revolutionary movements during the Arab Spring of 2011. Connections between Egypt and America exist in the history of the Statue of Liberty, a noted symbol of freedom. Originally known as “Liberty Enlightening the World,” the statue was proposed by the French historian Edouard de Laboulaye to commemorate the Franco-American alliance during the American Revolution.

Its sculptor, Frédéric Bartholdi, began developing plans for a colossal female figure as a beacon for a proposal to Ismail Pasha, Khedive of Egypt. The plan was to build a huge lighthouse in the form of an ancient Egyptian female fellah or peasant, robed and holding a torch aloft, at the northern entrance to the Suez Canal in Port Said. The figure was based on Bartholdi’s 1856 drawings that used black Egyptian women as models. The Egyptian beacon was never built but the Statue of Liberty’s 1870-71 design evolved from this earlier version.

Informed by a photograph of the right arm and torch displayed at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in New York, the torch in “Over There” has slipped from Liberty’s hand. The torch is an instrument of human agency so its fall or absence might ask how abstract and ideal notions of “freedom” become realities. Who truly bears the torch of freedom today and how is liberty won?

Exhibition

Sites of Passage: Egypt & the US, September 9, 2011 - February 12, 2012
About The Artist

Andrew Ellis Johnson's exhibition topics have ranged from the apocalypse to animal nature and disasters of war to the culture of class. Venues for his work have included museums, galleries, electronic arts and video festivals, public collaborations, conferences, books and journals in North and South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. He is co-founder of the socially engaged collective, PED, that has performed in Buffalo, Belfast, Chongqing, Rio de Janeiro, St. John's and Tonawanda. Johnson received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his MFA from Carnegie Mellon University where he is Associate Professor of Art.

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