Functional Pictures

From subject to elements in 10 signs

Everyone uses pictograms – in everyday life to find the right toilet, at the station to find the luggage lockers and at the cinema to find the exit. The have become omnipresent because they are seen as easily and quickly understandable in our increasingly international world. In contrast, the pictograms designed by Matt Mullican (born 1951 in Santa Monica, now living in New York) only seem to be easily understandable on first glance. Whichever way you turn the pictures there are no comprehensible directions. Mullican's stylised picture symbols rather create an hermetic and universal cosmology. 

For the insert in the newspaper "Der Standard" Mullican placed words under ten different symbols and brought them together in a table of his interpretation of the world. For the info-screens in the Vienna U-Bahn the symbols were animated. In quick succession they appear to be coming hypnotically closer. Here a globe, there the picture of the world (art), here the head with its subjective brain, there money, some coal, the archetypal factory silhouette. All the symbols float in space like epiphanies.

(Vitus Weh)