Tuesday, April 24, 2012


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
Memory Box, a community outreach programme initiated by the University of Cape Town, worked with HIV+ people to encourage expression and contemplation of their experience through writing, painting and other media. Cape Town-based artist, Jane Soloman, helped participants create Body Maps - life size images tracing the contours of their bodies that visualize the virus and articulate each individual history. 

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
Schoenaerts, a conceptual photographer living in Amsterdam, constructs countries and continents out of clothing.

Rhonald Blommestijn
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
Art direction by Michael Ciancio, photography by Piero Martinello, "Africa Map Ketchup"
An activist design collective at Fabrica uses icons of consumer culture to contrast lives in the affluent West with those in war-torn Darfur, a region in Western Sudan. 

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)