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Andrea Peña
States of Transmutation
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Assume the Risk
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As Below, So Above
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HalfDream: Another Room
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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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Dennis McNulty

Projected from first principles


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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Dennis McNulty’s sculptural works, installations, and sound performances deal with the friction between the planned and the unplanned, particularly in relation to urban spaces. Drawing on his research into the history of the urban fabric, he employs sound, image, and objects in spatial configurations to dislocate the viewer/listener through an overlap of multiple times and spaces. Architecture and urban planning often form a starting point for McNulty. McNulty considers how and what buildings become, their values, failures, and possibilities. Undercurrents of science-fiction and fantasy interplay with social, political, and architectural histories, in works that weigh intention against physical experience.

Projected from first principles sites two alternating HD videos within a constructed space. One is projected onto the wall accompanied by somewhat ambiguous, though distinctly urban sounds, and the other is projected into a triangular arrangement of two-way mirror glass. The former features images of a seated figure wearing a mirrored visor and gesturing to the viewer. A pen and a sphere are offered as props in the explanation of forms and signs but what is this communication? How do we understand? There is a certainty in the figure’s gestures, a precision of form and clear intent, and yet we feel as though something eludes us. In the background, reflected images of landmark buildings in downtown Pittsburgh and traffic on a freeway ramp, slowly shift, suggesting an infinite flow and perhaps an inability to stop. The other video presents a fragment of footage of a car journey along the freeway, intertwining and looping again and again, on an endlessly repeating excursion. The image repeats itself visually to infinity in the two-way mirror matrix; a never-ending loop or a journey to nowhere. These two videos alternate with each other and within this mechanism of display suggests a tension or friction, an ambition to control and be certain of something, anything, and yet an inability to stop the motion of time or progress. The reflections that are employed in all aspects of this work confirm our role in and responsibility for the systems that currently surround us.


Nothing is Impossible: March 20 – August 8, 2010
About The Artist

Dennis McNulty is an artist whose work is generated through an investigation of embodied knowledge in relation to other forms of knowledge, often in the context of the built environment. Beginning with detailed research of various kinds, and informed by his studies in psychoacoustics, the works often take hybrid forms, drawing on aspects of cinema, sculpture, sound and performance.

More from this Artist

More from this Exhibition

Stop the world I want to get off

The Body and Ground (or Your Lovely Smile)



7 increments

One hour and ten minutes of light


Collective assembly


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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