Nothing Else Mattress

Mattress Flip

Mattress Flip | Philadelphia, PA. 2001 | Zoe Strauss

This gallery was inspired by Zoe Strauss’  “Mattress Flip” – where vivacious children re-appropriate a stack of dilapidated mattresses into a trampoline – transforming this macabre urban landscape into their joyful playground.

Starting with the intended purpose of a mattress – which is to serve as rejuvenating space to rest the body – the following images investigate the transformative nature of this object and the spaces that it creates.

Herbert List Circa 1930. "Waking up"

Waking up | Circa 1930 | Herbert List


GB. Northern Ireland 1976 | Peter Marlow


Chicago, Illinois 1947 | Wayne Miller


Eugene Smith 1948

Colorado USA 1948 | W. Eugene Smith



Mexico City MEXICO 1934 | Henri Cartier-Bresson


One-room kitchenette. | Chicago ILLINOIS 1947 | Wayne Miller

One-room kitchenette. | Chicago ILLINOIS 1947 | Wayne Miller

Shared communal space.

Bed-in for Peace | Amsterdam 1969 | Nico Koster

Bed-in for Peace | Amsterdam 1969 | Nico Koster


Shooting of a pornographic movie. | FRANCE/HUNGARY | 1995 Paolo Pellegrin



The wedding bed. | `Buenos Aires ARGENTINA 2007 |
Alessandra Sanguinetti

A Staging Ground.


Nimbin AUSTRALIA | Claire Martin

Shared Intimate Space.


The Space Below.

Sleep | This fundamental function of a mattress is to provide a comfortable place to sleep.

Work | Fully equipped with a typewriter and files strewn over its surface, the mattress now becomes an office.  If it weren’t for the wide angle of this shot revealing the ruffled comforter, the nightstand, the half naked doll and other bedroom oddities, the viewer would be none the wiser.

Birth | As the mother caresses her newborn, heads drawn together and her eyes closed, the viewer can’t help but feel the immense joy emanating from her soul. The mattress not only provides a platform for conception, but also offers a space for children to be brought into this world.

Death | From cradle to grave, the mattress serves as a space to care for one another.

Sex | We fulfill our primal needs here.

Protest  | The mattress – in this circumstance – creates a space for social justice.

Entertainment | The mattress can transform into a space for both voyeurism and exhibitionism.

A Staging Ground | The mattress subsequently becomes a staging ground not just for the mundane daily events that occur in our lives, but also the momentous ones – such as the wedding day depicted here.

Shared Intimate Space & Shared communal space | The intended occupancy of the mattress was either single or double.  Economic hardships resulted in this family living in a one-room apartment, therefore breaking the traditional confines of this intimate space – and altering it into a shared, communal one.

The Space Below | Due to the elevated nature of the mattresses, you will find empty space below. This can be a space used for storage or simply to hide.

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