The theme for the following thread was sourced from the book titled, "The Map as Art - Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography" by Katharine Harmon.
In Katharine Harmon's book artists take inspiration from maps, something very utilitarian in nature, and transmute these diagrammatic representations of the world into artworks. The utilitarian value of the artworks in themselves becomes far from eroded as their forms function as poignant messages, pervasive in their beauty, which is about truth. How can artworks that channel depictions of the Earth not speak of a bigger picture?
|Qin Ga, Site 22: Mao Zedong Temple, 2005|
In 2002, China's Long March Project embarked upon the route of the 1934 - 1936 historic 6000-mile Long March. Beijing-based artist, Qin Ga, tracked the group’s route in a tattooed map on his back. Three years later, Qin continued the trek where the original marchers had left off, accompanied by a camera crew and a tattoo artist, who continually updated the map on Qin’s back.
|Jane Soloman, Body Maps, 2003|
Each Body Map image bears the name, the place and the date of birth, as well as the handprints and the footprints of its maker. On the Body Maps, painted representations of wounds, marks and attacking HIV viruses appear together with textual fragments and areas of emotional significance. Each participant selected a symbol of personal power and hope, often taking the form of a flower or a heart, to embody the optimism of the project. The shadowy forms of the participants' partners hover behind them, underlining the crucial need for support and encouragement from others.
|Corriette Schoenaerts, South America, 2005|
The above illustration by Dutch artist, Rhonald Blommestijn, depicts a politician from the West ironing out a crumpled map of Afghanistan.
|Joao Machado, Swimming, 2007|
"Everybody needs a map to understand the physical world we live in. We look to maps to understand the spiritual world, as in astrology, for example. We need maps to understand each other in this constant exploration. An exploration of both the extent of the galaxy and the depths of our own inner-space."
Joao Machado, Los Angeles, 2006
|Vernon Fisher, Man Cutting Globe, 1995|
|Doug Beube, Strike Anywhere, 2007|
|Elisabeth LeCourt, dresses based on maps of London and Paris |
|Jane Hammond, All Souls (Kirov), 2006|
|Ai Weiwei, World Map, 2006|
World Map by Ai Weiwei, was constructed from 2000 layers of cloth cut into components. The work was designed to be extremely labour intensive to install, hinting at China's status as a source of cheap workers for the fabric industry. Weiwei stated that the difficulty in joining the components together raised questions around concepts of national unity. "The major problem was to resolve how to hold together a hundred pieces tightly and precisely," Weiwei said. (source via)