As a child, Mullen was already fascinated by constructed space. This fascination, in combination with Lego, became the playground for his imagination. As an adult, no longer having that direct relationship to space, the canvas-picture plane becomes the conduit and activator to explore that prior capacity. Mullen sees his work not as paintings but as fleeting manifestations of curiosity.
While studying at the Gerrit Reitveld Academie, he rediscovered his passion for architecture. This lead to his first series of highly representational paintings based on modern architecture. After his graduation in 2011, Mullen continued to develop his work, slowly introducing abstraction in search of a more open interpretation, placing emphasis on defining the boundaries of his universe.
In 2012 Mullen was nominated for the Buning Brongers prize for painting in the same year he was also one of the finalist of the TV program de Nieuwe Rembrant. Mullen has exhibited nationally and abroad, most notably in New York and Berlin. In 2014 he was nominated for the Koninklijke Prijs voor Schilderkunst (The Dutch Royal prize for painting). In 2016 he was also longlisted for the Aesthetica Art prize.
“I paint images of abstract architectural volumes and spaces in which the scale is left to the imagination of the viewer. My tools include paint, paper tape, and pencil, while drawing aesthetic inspiration primarily from the Neoplaticism and Constructivism movements. Additionally, I’m interested in a correlation with computer generated images through the use of perspective, repetition, fractals, and transparency.
“What is reality?” is a question that repeatedly surfaces for me. In contemporary society the line between our perception of reality and illusion has become increasingly blurred. In my work this is highlighted through the friction between the stability of structure and the fragility of weightlessness and transparency. I aim to create the illusion to be seen exactly as an illusion, like the shadows on the wall in the analogy of Plato’s cave.”