Cartography in Art (Maps of the Artistic Imagination)
I have attended a cartography lecture in Metropolitan Museum last July 28, 2012.
Main topic: Cartography in Art (Maps of the Artistic Imagination) which was discussed by Florentina Colayco (Dean of UP College of Fine Arts)
Here are some of these maps that she presented (very interesting!):
United States of America Map (1961) – Jasper Johns
Reflecting on his choice of easily recognizable images, Johns said that he was interested in “the idea of knowing an image rather than just seeing it out of the corner of your eye.” The map of the United States, in its ubiquity and iconicity, is “seen and not looked at, not examined.” Preserving the overall proportions of the country and the shape of its states, Johns’s energetic application of paint subverts the conventions of cartography, as do the stenciled names of states, such as Colorado, which is repeated in several locations. Map invites close inspection because its content is both familiar and imaginary.
Road Map (2003) – Enrique Chagoya
Enrique Chagoya’s aesthetic is borne, like that of so many other American artists, out of an immigrant’s ambivalence toward his new home. He is constantly torn between modes and between borders—in his case, between Mexico and America. “My artwork is a conceptual fusion of opposite cultural realities that I have experienced in my lifetime,” Chagoya has said. “I integrate diverse elements: from Precolumbian mythology, western religious iconography and American popular culture.” Chagoya’s desired fusion is evident inRoad Map,a color lithograph designed in responseto President George W. Bush’s proposed “road mapfor peace,” a 2002 timetable to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by 2005. It is as much an affront to art-historical tradition as it is to our current political authorities, inspired by sources ranging from painting’s moralists—his name, of course, recalls Goya—to mid-century American comic books. An oversized American continent dominates the paper, surrounded by snide cartoons about oil, the environment, and war. Caricatures of Hope and Hopelessness in the lower corners recall the allegorical antiheroes of Hieronymous Bosch, whose own antiauthoritarian caricatures were an exaggerated response to an earlier era of modernization. Chagoya, perhaps referring to Bosch, added artificial folds and stains to the print to make his work resemble a late medieval map. He includes hand-drawn penciled elements that seem out of place on a politicalpamphlet, so the end result is an almost twee pastiche that engages the audience, like Goya, in a political debate on populist terms.
The Perfect World (2007) – Jeanne Quinn
The words decoration and decorum are rooted in the same Latin word,decorus: handsome and seemly. From this implication, decoration constructs the beautiful world in which we behave well. I believe this: when I see graceful ornament, it calms me, making me realize the order of the world.
Medieval cartographers believed in the ordered world literally; their maps reveal symmetry. They believed that a perfect God created a perfect world. Symmetry visually represented perfection, and their maps of repeated shapes become decorative patterns.
Playing with symmetry has become an elaborate game to me; I balance paired elements but alter color, scale, or form. Using shapes of maps and decorative motifs, I point to paths traveled, open space, and a merging of internal and external worlds. I attempt to construct a new kind of perfect world.
Ville Fantôme (1996) – Bodys Isek Kingelez
Bodys Isek Kingelez’s sculpture Ville Fantôme makes physical the artist’s private vision of his home city of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This painstakingly fabricated sculpture is inspired by the actual city’s architecture in combination with the artist’s subjective perception of the real. Like a traditional architectural model,Ville Fantôme appears to represent something existing or that could exist; this characteristic connects the model to our world. Ville Fantôme references Kinshasa not only through visual analogies, but also through its materials —bottle caps, corrugated cardboard, tinfoil—taken directly from this urban environment. These found materials speak to the urban nature of the city and also to the practice of recycling prevalent in economically disadvantaged countries.
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