ddespite the title of the exhibition you will not find maps in Mostyn Gallery’s Temporary atlas – at least not in their traditional form. Rather than plotting territories with coordinates and GPS, 17 international artists have documented the place by tracing the things people leave behind, from archive photos and recycled materials to half-empty whiskey glasses.
Compiled by Alfredo Cramerotti, the show aims to challenge our understanding of cartography as an objective art and science, showing how it is entrenched in colonialism. “It’s important to emphasize what cannot be mapped in the conventional sense, because our subjectivity creates these inevitable gaps,” explains Cramerotti. Inspired by this idea, Temporary Atlas is filled with sculptural and highly personal artworks that break through the limitations of standard map making. “When we try to document our environment, we leave out so much: the poetry, the mystery and most importantly, the marginalized.”
The show’s performers come from a variety of geographic locations, including Canada, Ghana, and Lebanon, and they challenge the preconceptions of information gathering from their own unique perspectives. “Group exhibitions are a great opportunity to make a statement, and with Temporary Atlas I wanted to show that art does not exist in a vacuum – just as Mostyn Gallery exists within the larger contemporary art discourse, despite our remote location,” he says. . “We are aware of our position as an arts venue in Llandudno – this quirky tourist town in North Wales – and we exhibit Welsh artists alongside artists from elsewhere to show that our context is not only relevant, but also a strength.”
For this show, Welsh artists Paul Eastwood, Manon Awst and Adéolá Dewis represent key reference points, anchoring the exhibition in the wider area and raising key questions about rural areas, dual identity and tourism. Our freedom of movement, our consumption patterns and our lifestyle have come under scrutiny in recent years, and for good reason. Maps are useful tools for investigating these issues; they are malleable, personal and informative in a way that allows for all forms of self-expression and documentation.
“Maps can provide insight into our environments and how we exist in them,” says Cramerotti. “All maps are reflections of the person, company or government that created them. In this way, the exhibition suggests that all maps are mind maps.”
Temporary atlas: self-mapping in today’s art is over Mostyn Gallery, llandudno, up to 25 September.
Artworks from the exhibition
Paul Eastwood Dyfodiaith: Canu and ddyfodol anhysbys (2019)
Projected into an adjacent room, video footage shows tongues writhing into a Welsh-sounding hybrid of Celtic and Brythonic languages. “The score reminds us of our position as visitors in a country with an ever-changing language and culture,” says Cramerotti.
Oliver Laric Versions (2010)
Laric’s video essay examines how images have been manipulated throughout history, examining notions of originality. “There’s no starting or ending point with images: you always build on what you’ve seen,” Cramerotti says. “It’s easy to forget that maps are constructed placeholder images.”
Walid Council Sweet words. Assignments (Beirut) 1987 (1987/2010)
This series combines sentimental and diary-like notes with archival footage of Beirut from the 1980s. “Council has not confirmed whether the photos were found or are a fabrication,” Cramerotti says, “but they challenge our faith in text by challenging our expectations. compensate.”
Enam Gbewonyo The Ascension of the Nude 2021 (foreground)
A selection of sculptural works with violently torn stockings, which “intimately explore the objectification of the black female body. There is a fine balancing act between the personal, social and performative value of these works,” says Cramerotti.
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