A zine published by Rough Trade books in 2020. Purchase the zine HERE

In Mattress Mantras, artist David Shillinglaw provides a new way of looking at the sometimes tawdry everyday-domestic, as embodied in the object central to these images—the mattress. Transformed through Shillinglaw’s textual interventions, these objects begin to carry both the meaning of the additional words—playful, philosophical, literary—and a heightened sense of their own histories. Shillinglaw draws our attention to the tension between our domestic and external environments, between objects of use and objects of art, and between our human interactions and our material refuse.

Read an interview about the mattress mantras HERE

Nothing Really Mattress. By Andrew Spyrou.

Mattresses. Slept on. Wept on. Sexed on. Jumped on. Thrown out. Passed by in the street.

David Shillinglaw’s message is always clear. It’s consistently thoughtful, usually spontaneous and overwhelmingly positive. Short and to the point, for many years David has kept notebooks of these phrases, slogans, quotes and poems in the event that he encounters an attractive wall or an abandoned mattress. Arguably a weakness, and definitely an obsession, David will not leave a soiled or sodden canvas unpainted. David always carries a spray can.

Through this practice, he turns objects that we might otherwise disregard, into sites of unignorable significance; prior locations of sexual massage transformed by textual missives. In our epoch of constant information, this unexpected and gratuitous communication is a welcome treat. Quod erat demonstrandum, the mattress is the memorandum.

Although these final moments before the mattresses’ ultimate disposal might share this common quality of a Shillinglaw treatment, their stories up to this point might wildly differ. A basement of trafficked children. A suite of rooms in a Monte Carlo penthouse. A cramped tent in a refugee camp. A warm and welcoming bed on the second floor of a detached house outside Brighton. Landfill on a small Mediterranean island. A Palliative Care ward. The container port at the end of one of the longest sea bridges in the world, not far from Shanghai. An inner-city warehouse aflame.

The divergent histories of the mattresses are transcended by the oft-existential wordplay of David’s writings, which are valuable commandments in their own right. Each one of us is unique. But we are one and the same. Take care of our world. Hug your friends more. Stop buying, start making. Think of others. Love. Smile and you will find happiness.