The world of maps and Warhol

Maps have been around since ancient times and will continue, no matter how times change. Most of the time we use them without giving them a second thought. However, as Slovak National Gallery curator Lucia Gregorová points out, maps can show not only the space people live in, but also the space where they would like to live. When turned into artistic concepts, they can become symbols of the crossing of borders which cannot be crossed in reality. Mapy / Maps (Art Cartography in the Centre of Europe 1960-2011), a joint project by the Bratislava City Gallery (GMB) and the Slovak National Gallery (SNG), explores the so-far unmapped land of cartography and maps used in art.

(Source: Courtesy of GMB)

Maps have been around since ancient times and will continue, no matter how times change. Most of the time we use them without giving them a second thought. However, as Slovak National Gallery curator Lucia Gregorová points out, maps can show not only the space people live in, but also the space where they would like to live. When turned into artistic concepts, they can become symbols of the crossing of borders which cannot be crossed in reality. Mapy / Maps (Art Cartography in the Centre of Europe 1960-2011), a joint project by the Bratislava City Gallery (GMB) and the Slovak National Gallery (SNG), explores the so-far unmapped land of cartography and maps used in art.

In the GMB, the exhibition is called Maps Known and Unknown and represents the more factual – and often political – side of maps, Daniela Čarná, the GMB’s curator, said at a press conference. The works of authors from the Visegrad Four countries (Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary) take maps as the starting point for their adventurous creative work, sometimes using them as ready-mades, sometimes as symbols of mental freedom that cannot be limited by real maps and borders, sometimes as reflections of the trips on foot they have made, and sometimes as a launch into spaceflight. Until August 28, the artworks of more than 50 authors of all generations from the V4 countries (including Rudolf Sikora, Otis Laubert, David Černý, Barbara Kozlowska, Tamás St. Ruby, Tomasz Sikorksi, and Gyorgy Galantai) show the development of the concept of maps through the decades, and the different approach of individual artists. Gregorová called this collection “the distorted maps”, i.e. maps that cannot be used for the purpose they were originally meant for.

Another exhibition, currently installed on the ground floor of the GMB, is entitled simply Andy Warhol. On show until September 4, it brings to the Slovak capital a collection of Warhol’s serigraphies that are unique in being complete, all-different-colour versions of one work, from the lightest to the darkest. Visitors can compare various Goethes, Ted Kennedys, Queen Ntombi Twalas of Swaziland, Cologne cathedrals, or different versions of his remakes of Medieval and Renaissance artworks, like St Apollonia or Ucello’s St George and the Dragon. The last works are the famous Hammer and Sickle and more abstract Camouflages. The exhibition comes from a private collector and was curated by Michal Bycko.

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