Don't Call Me a City
'Mental Maps' are what Franz Ackermann calls his drawings, psychocartographies he made of his travels around the world. Ackermann's cities are images of a globalized landscape in which the conflict between the centre and periphery is drawing closer. Harald Fricke has visited the Berlin-based painter.
It took a long time. By now, there are countless chronologies recording Alexander von Humboldt's expeditions as the economic and industrial development of the world steadily progressed. But can this 'tour d'horizon' through time be drawn, as well? Cities with magical names such as Singapore, Bangkok, or Ulan Bator once seemed so far away - how can we represent the changes they underwent throughout the urbanization process? And the South American jungles, the African steppe - can we still conjure an image of the fascination they once held, now that they've long since turned into telegenic survival-show playgrounds for unbridled celebrities on cable TV? Franz Ackermann, the Berlin painter and draftsman, is one artist who set off on endless trips around the globe prior to the onslaught of the adventure trend. Big-city chaos and the boondocks - the cartographic works he created throughout his travels now hang in international museums and collections, including that of the Deutsche Bank.Read the entire articleSource:
Franz AckermannIrish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin 20 July - 23 October, 2005
In response to a world that is, for some, more intricately connected than ever, reticular metaphors prevail in contemporary art. Yet the complexities of this world - its financial markets, information and transportation networks, social relations, and so on - exceed figuration and its shifting spaces are opaque to conventional means of representation. In such a situation it is claimed that mapping is no longer a matter of describing the surface of the globe but of reconstructing a scene that has been lived through. This means that cartography comes back down to earth, so to speak. That sovereign power which once surveyed the world from on high, dividing out space, giving measure to it, and more often than not asserting proprietorial and territorial rights over it, is unsustainable: its panoptic eye sees from nowhere, which is, of course, impossible, and the knowledge which it claims of the world is detached, reductive, a fiction. Even if it were possible to occupy this elevated surveying position for a moment, one could hardly breath in its rarefied air. The cartographer who comes back to street level, where the air is, for the most part, breathable, immerses him- or herself in specific situations, the topography and horizons of which are set by social conditions to which we are all subjected, not least those of memory and architecture. It is these conditioned and situated experiences that might now provide material for maps. Read the enitre articleSource: