A curious representation of the world through maps, is now ongoing till August 22, 2020, at The Boghossian Foundation in Brussels. Contemporary artists captivated by world maps have reinvented and transformed the map in their distinct flair – not only geographical but also political, poetic or utopian.
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.
The exhibition Mappa Mundi , curated by art historian and museum curator Alfred Pacquement, is all about maps and how contemporary artists reinvent the maps as they wish to convey the representations they want. 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 space for imaginary projections. It is an 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 brings together more than 30 contemporary artists from across the world. It is a 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 conceives a new installation for this exhibition, just to name a few. The exhibition reunites 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.
Alfred Pacquement is an art historian and museum curator who was born in 1948. Today he a cultural consultant and independent curator. He was the director of the Musée national d’art moderne at the Centre Pompidou from 2000 to 2013. Previously he was curator in the same museum, then director of the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, Visual Arts Delegate at the Ministry of Culture, and Director of the École Nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts. He was also the curator for the Richard Serra exhibition, Promenade, at the Grand Palais and in Doha.
Created in 1992 by Robert and his two sons Jean and Albert Boghossian, Lebanese jewelers of Armenian origin, the Boghossian Foundation has set training and education as its priority objectives.
During the first 15 years, the Boghossian Foundation mainly worked to improve the living conditions of young people in Armenia and Lebanon, in order to encourage the development of their potential with a view to a better future. Picasso-Paris and the Advisory Board of the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg.