Mappa Mundi – Contemporary Cartographies

Works Exhibitions

Le Monde nomade #1, 2006
World map cut into 60 strips, ongoing work during the length of the exhibition
Dimensions variable

Le Monde nomade #1 is divided into 60 strips (instead of 24 time zones) rolled up by the artist, forming arbi­trary longitudes and latitudes. This shifting world can be carried in a case, displayed on a wall in its conven­tional version or reconstructed by interweaving the continents. The simple distortion engenders a dreamlike worldview that inspires wanderlust and imagination, as well as reflection on the state of the world and the consequences of the fictional transpositions.

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Fondation Boghossian – Villa Empain
Mappa Mundi – Contemporary Cartographies
05.03.2020 – 04.10.2020
Representation of the world is a practical and scientific necessity, both in the past and still today; one which allows us to comprehend our geography, whether it is near or distant, and which provides a source of reverie, inviting us to dream of travels and the fantastical.
The first explorers discovered unknown worlds, thus allowing their pictorial translation. The cartography was meant to be completed, filled in with details from compiled information, and according to the meaning one wished to convey. Maps indeed represent reality, but interpret it by creating an image from multiple, more or less reliable elements. Our representation of the world is constantly evolving. Current technologies render it extremely precise, helping us see the world differently. Nevertheless, this translation into a two-dimensional surface, this fattening out, is an artifice; from the moment they take shape, maps are a testament to an artistic concern which is added to their navigational function.
Contemporary artists are also captivated by world maps, which many of them reinvent and transform. The artists find each map’s potential – not only geographical but also political, poetic or utopian. The map is, to a certain extent, an inevitable form from which all sorts of geographic deviations stem, but it is also the pretext for a reflection on the state of the world, or a space for imaginary projections. It is illusion and reality all at once. Maps reinterpret a truth, and transform it. This undoubtedly explains why so many artists have showcased maps in their work, each in their own way, thus making the world flat.
Completed by a selection of ancient maps and literary translations, the exhibition brought together more than thirty contemporary artists from across the world. It was testament to the recent interest artists have developed for a revisited Mapping according to their own aesthetic research. Some have developed numerous works on this theme, such as Marcel Broodthaers and Mona Hatoum, whereas others have periodically found world maps through their research, like Alighiero Boetti with its series of Mappa, or Wim Delvoye who conceived a new installation for this exhibition, just to name a few. The exhibition reunited around a theme rich in meanings, the map being for the artists a pretext for all sorts of comments on contemporary society, power relations, ecology, conflicts, etc.


Malala Andrialavidrazana, Art and Language, Yto Barrada, Alighiero Boetti, Marcel Broodthaers, Mircea Cantor, Claude Closky, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Wim Delvoye, Erik Dietman, Éric Duyckaerts, Charles et Ray Eames, Ólafur Eliasson, Öyvind Fahlström, Philippe Favier, Luigi Ghirri, Marco Godinho, Shilpa Gupta, Andreas Gursky, Mona Hatoum, Bernard Heidsieck, Emilio Isgrò, Nelson Leirner, Sol LeWitt, Cristina Lucas, Rudi Mantofani, Vik Muniz, Aung Myint, Iván Navarro, Rivane Neuenschwander, Marwan Rechmaoui, David Renaud, Chéri Samba, Qiu Zhijie.


Alfred Pacquement