(American, b. 1971; resides in Chicago, IL)
In Mat Rappaport’s series treatments (2019-ongoing) he visually studies the rooms in which the clinical and the individual intersect. After his partner was diagnosed with cancer in 2019, Rappaport began observing the artwork in clinical spaces during countless medical appointments before and during the heightened isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rappaport’s typology of the artworks hung in Cancer Centers reveals how copies of familiar pastoral scenes are displayed to create a sense of calm on sterile walls amongst disquieting medical objects. As demonstrated by treatments and his field research platform, the range mobile lab, Rappaport considers how images shape our experiences in the built environment.
Mat Rappaport completed his MFA in Visual Art from The University of Notre Dame (1998), and his BFA in Studio Art from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University (1994). Rappaport’s work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally and selected solo exhibitions include: Small Room Gallery, Chicago, IL (2014); Terrain Gallery, Chicago, IL (2012); The University of Wisconsin – Fon duLac, WI (2010); D12, Belgrade, Serbia (2003). Selected group exhibitions include: Printed Matter, New York, NY (2012); The Brick Box, London, UK (2012); The Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI (2011); LVL3, Chicago, IL (2010); Post Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2004, 2005). Rappaport has received various fellowships including; School of the Museum of Fine Arts Traveling Fellowship (2013); The Howard Fellowship (2006); and the Mary L. Nohl Artist Fellowship (2005). Mat Rappaport is currently an Associate Professor at Columbia College in Chicago.
Prora, the unfinished Nazi vacation resort on the German island of Rügen, is the subject of Mat Rappaport’s series Resort (2008-ongoing). Designed by Nazi appointed architect Clemens Klotz in 1936, the retreat was intended to house 20,000 guests with each room overlooking the ocean. At present, the site is merely a shell of the Nazi utopian fantasy it would have embodied had the Germans claimed victory in WWII and finished construction on the complex. By creating an index of the perspective from behind the windows of one block of the complex, Rappaport’s series contrasts the intended idealized ocean view-constructed to be experienced by Nazi sympathizers-with the contemporary reality of an overgrown and abandoned Prora. Rappaport is documenting a relic of Nazi ideology, while simultaneously conjuring an alternate history, which would have unfolded, had the Nazi’s won the war. Utilizing photography and video, Rappaport’s work examines how the construction and design of a built environment can embody and promote ideologies. About the series, he writes, “I am intrigued by the fascist intent wrapped in a socialist promise.”