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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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Paul Glabicki

The Diagram Film Trilogy (1978-83)


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 The Diagram Film Trilogy (1978-83), images exploded into fragments, were reconstructed, and exploded again, against a soundtrack of music, voices intoning lists of words, the sound of running water, and conversation. Photographic images fell apart, turned into a geometry in black and white, and came together again. The fractured shapes danced as objects on their own, and eventually no longer reverted to their original forms.

Artist Statement

Film animation is a unique medium that combines aspects of photography, film, painting, drawing, music, and dance. It demands a temporal sensibility as well as an awareness of transition and juxtaposition.

My own work is especially concerned with delicate thresholds between abstract and figurative representation, perception, memory, simultaneity, and language. I view any given place, event, or object as raw material encoded with diverse information to be recognized and broken down into constituent parts, which in turn become a vehicle for reinterpretation and the creation of new compositions. The "diagram trilogy" of films (first screened in its entirety at the Mattress Factory in 1984), Diagram Film, Five Improvisations, and Film-Wipe-Film, was the result of this process. Each of my films is a kind of visual/aural essay based on personal observations, experiences, and memories.

My work has been described as a visualization of thought processes, as musical suites or operas, as a further evolved or mutated form of Cubism, or even as a visual parallel to the writings of James Joyce. Such comments may be correct in part, but more simply, I see myself assuming the role of a sensitive and discriminating prism constantly attempting to reveal multiple aspects of things I see and hear.


Paul Glabicki: May 4 - 5, 1984
About The Artist

Paul Glabicki's career and creative work have been characterized by highly interdisciplinary activity centered on painting, drawing, and filmmaking, and extending into photography, installation art, video art, sound, and electronic media. His educational background includes a BFA in Painting from Carnegie Mellon University and two MFA degrees (Painting, Filmmaking) at Ohio University. His exhibition career has included major film festivals, numerous individual and group screenings, and both national and international museum and gallery exhibitions. He has also taught and lectured as a visiting artist at institutions throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. He has taught at Ohio University (1975-76) and is now Professor Emeritus, University of Pittsburgh.

Much of his work has been involved with issues of time, motion (actual or implied), temporal experience, perception, analytical observation, thresholds of figurative and abstract representation, language systems and semiotics, methods of analysis and interpretation, and transformation of found images, thematic material or actual sites. His work has been exhibited internationally. A selection of exhibitions includes: the New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center; the Cannes Film Festival; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Biennial; the Venice Biennale; the Image Forum, Tokyo; Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC; and The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna; The Canadian Center for Art & Architecture, Montreal; The Art Institute of Chicago; Los Angeles Film Forum; California Institute of the Arts; The Center for Contemporary Arts, Cincinnati; The Museum of Art Oviedo; Spain; American Museum of the Moving Image; Itoki Gallery, Japan; the Hiroshima International Animation Festival, Japan; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art, Germany; Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool; Art Miami; National Gallery of Art, Vilnius, Lithuania; and the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts. His work is included in the archives and collections of the IotaCenter and the Motion Picture Academy Archives in Los Angeles; the Motion Picture Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library in Beverly Hills; the International Animation Library of Japan; the ASIFA Animation Archive in Berlin; the Anthology Film Archives, New York, and in numerous museum and private collections. He is represented by Kim Foster Gallery, in New York.

Throughout his career, Glabicki has received numerous awards, prizes, and honors for his work, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, American Film Institute, and Pennsylvania Council for the Arts. He received the Ohio University Alumni Medal of Merit for Achievement in Film, Art, and Education. In 2001, he was honored as “Artist of the Year” by the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. His work is also cited in numerous books and publications on film, film history, art, and solo/group exhibitions.

More from this Artist

This Is/Just That

Early Figurative Works (1967-77)

More from this Exhibition

Early Figurative Works (1967-77)


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