MAPPING & MAPS

In this section you'll find information on artists whose work has been influenced by maps or the practice of mapping. 

Some of the artists below use maps, atlases and encyclopaedias as the material with which to make new works. Using processes such as collage and painting to reconfigure existing maps and open up new meanings, relationships and worlds. Other artists included below use the practice of mapping (employing traditional methods such as drawing and printing) to make sense of the world in personal and idiosyncratic ways and to talk about themes such as identity, conflict, migration, and social, cultural, or political networks.

Also included are links to galleries and museums that house collections of historical maps that are both fascinating and visually stunning.

There's a great array of ideas and imagery to draw inspiration from, along with suggestion on how to make a mental map of your own.

Kathy Prendergast

" Kathy Prendergast’s work has persistently revolved around a potent cluster of issues, chief among which are sexuality, identity, landscape, mapping and power. Over the past decade, her work has incorporated maps modified in various ways to take on emotional and personal resonances. Though non-didactic, Prendergast’s cartographic interventions also belie shifting power structures, subtly dismantling the narratives of imperialism and colonialism, and revealing the fragility of political gestures through acts of erasure and transformation. Though enigmatic and eerily beautiful, Prendergast’s works are often marked by a sense of misdirection or loss."

Kerlin Gallery

To view Prendergast's beautiful hand coloured maps and sculptural works CLICK HERE

Qui Zhijie

Calligraphically painted map in black, grey and blue ink with the layout broken up into areas named after certain illnesses and diseases.

Qiu Zhijie (邱志杰; born 1969) is a multidisciplinary artist,  known for his calligraphy and ink painting, photography, video, installation and performance works. Zhijie has made many large scale calligraphic conceptual maps that diagram ideas and concepts rather than physical places. Click on the link above to view these maps and find out more about Qui Zhijie.

"Nowadays we get information from the internet, and all this information is fragmented, so we need to have the whole sense to understand where we are. […] Mapping is really like children playing with toy bricks. (They) try to set up something, try to set up this relationship (between things). When you have the relationship, you really understand where you are and the world you’re living in. » ( quoted by CNN in 2017 as part of an exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York)

ACTIVITY

IDEAS SHEET:
MAKE A MENTAL MAP

CLICK ON THE PICTURES BELOW FOR THE FULL SIZE SHEETS

Mental Map Ideas Sheet J.jpg
making maps INSPIRE.jpg

Matthew Cusick

An owl perched on a branch in muted earth tones, existing maps have been collaged to create the image of the owl on the branch.

Matthew Cusick, Patriarch, 2006, Inlaid maps on panel, 30 x 24 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Cusick is an artist who works primarily with collage, using found materials such as maps, atlases, encyclopaedias and  school text books to create new works.

 “I like to catalog, archive, and arrange information and then dismantle, manipulate, and reconfigure it. I use maps as a surrogate for paint and as a way to expand the limits of representational painting. Through a process of cutting up and reassembling fragments of maps from different places and times, I am attempting a more complete representation of an existence, one that incorporates the geographical and historical timelines of that existence within the matrix of its image.” (1)

Alighiero Boetti
MAPPA

Alighiero Fabrizio Boetti known as Alighiero e Boetti (16 December 1940 – 24 February 1994) was an Italian conceptual artist, considered to be a member of the art movement Arte Povera. Boetti is most famous for a series of embroidered maps of the world, Mappa, created between 1971 and his death in 1994. 

To view  Boetti's Maps series and find out more about the artist click here

GRAYSON PERRY

Turner prize winning contemporary artist Grayson Perry is known for his skilled craftsmanship, creating ceramic vases, tapestries, prints and drawings. His work has been influenced by mapping and historical maps such as the Mappa Mundi. Taking inspiration from these sources he created a series of maps that explore aspects of the self, identity and social ecologies; Map of Days, Map of an Englishman and Map of Nowhere.

Susan Hiller
Dream Mapping

Susan Hiller (March 7, 1940 – January 28, 2019) was an American-born artist who lived in London, United Kingdom. Her art practice included installation

videophotographyperformance and 

writing. Dream Mapping, 1973 was an art event provocatively poised between an experiment (social or scientific) and a performance without an audience. Seven dreamers slept for three nights inside “fairy rings” in an English meadow marked by an abundance of circles formed naturally by Marasmius oreades mushrooms, a landscape feature that occurs in a number of British folk myths. The field became a site for dream experiences which were discussed and mapped the following morning. The dream maps of each participant were collected and copied onto transparent paper, sandwiched together, and traced to compile a composite group map for each night. A number of shared features were noted. (1)

1. www.susanhiller.org

To view more of Hiller's work click here.

Mark Bradford
Masses and Movements
exhibition at
Hauser & Wirth 

19 Jul – 31 Oct 2021

Mark Bradford (b. 1961 in Los Angeles; lives and works in Los Angeles) is a contemporary artist best known for his large-scale abstract paintings created out of paper.

" Throughout his career, Bradford has employed his signature style of archaeological abstraction to explore maps of the world of all different kinds, unpacking social and political systems that objectify and marginalize vulnerable populations. Using maps of cities, neighbourhoods, public housing developments, and trade routes, the artist has unpacked the embedded biases that define the barriers and boundaries we inhabit, revealing a world predetermined by power structures. For ‘Masses and Movements’, Bradford inverts this, instead reaching for a source image many times removed from a realistic representation of the world."

(Hauser & Wirth)

Louise Hopkins

Louise Hopkins is an artist living and working in Glasgow, Scotland.

Her paintings and drawings are often made directly onto surfaces that already contain information; world maps, patterned furnishing fabric, magazine pages, photographs, folded or pierced paper, sheet music.

'Hopkins’ works suggest a chain of contrasts – between mass-produced and handcrafted, reality and artifice, positive and negative, surface and depth, hidden and exposed. In an increasingly fast-paced, image-led world, Hopkins’ interventions are labour-intensive and time-consuming. She slows down time, inviting us to absorb the information she eradicates or exposes through the physical act of painting. In this way, she makes us question the things we see – not only in her work, but in the world around us.’ Lucy Askew (1). From www.louisehopkins.com

For photographs and info about her recent exhibition at 42 Carlton Place CLICK HERE.

Olafur Eliasson
Earth Perspectives

A participatory project that invited the public to discover a new world view.

“Today, ‘the world as we know it’ is a phrase of the past. The current health crisis has brought our societies close to a halt, affecting our economies, our freedoms, and even our social ties. We must take the time to empathise with all those struck by the crisis and also seize this opportunity to imagine together the earth that we want to inhabit in the future – in all its wonders and beauty, in the face of all the challenges ahead of us.” – Olafur Eliasson

Earth perspectives was shared by millions around the world on Earth Day 2020. A series of nine world views over Earth, the project encapsulates how maps, space, and the earth itself are human constructs, which we have the power to see from other perspectives, whether individually or collectively.

The piece, which includes views of earth from the Great Barrier Reef, the Ganges River, Chernobyl, and the Greenland ice sheet, seeks to provoke the viewer into recalibrating their relationship with how they see the world.

Serpentine Gallery

Gallery & Museum
Map Collections

Listed below are a number of galleries and museums that hold collections of historical maps in their archives.