Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art, 1959–1965

Gallery and Exhibition Deisgn, Kemper Museum, St. Louis. 2020-2021

Escher GuneWardena designed the exhibition Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art, 1959–1965 at the Kemper Art Museum, curated by Meredith Malone. The exhibition examined the rise of multiples (three-dimensional objects issued in editions) and the concurrent surge of interest in kinetic art in the post–World War II era. The multiple emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s, serving as both art object and vehicle for democratizing art through ready distribution. Keyed to an economic and cultural context of mass production, consumption, and disposability, the multiple delineated a strategic position for artists grappling with the shifting socioeconomic conditions of a rapidly expanding consumer culture in Western Europe and the United States.

This exhibition explores the pioneering role played by Edition MAT (multiplication d’art transformable), the first series of multiples to find broad participation and distribution in the postwar period. The Romanian-born Swiss artist Daniel Spoerri (b. 1930) established Edition MAT in Paris in 1959, soliciting artworks from a range of artists and then marketing and selling them through exhibitions across Europe.

Photos by © Joshua White —