The World from Above
25 Jan – 13 March 2004
Greengrassi, 1a Kempsford Road, Londonk - UK
Aleksandra Mir's flipchart topography maps patches of the planet as if she had been suspended above from above the earth at different heights. In a series of beautifully drawn, marker—pen images that describe places as diverse as the Tower of London and the Gaza Strip, she has reclaimed the modern cartographic codes, keys and reference techniques. Playing Alice in Wonderland with scaled, she zooms in and out of her chosen locations, leaving visual clues to where she has been. Next to a plan of the Tower of London, a key denotes the tourist guide symbols for a synagogue and a golf course, amongst other facilities. One map reveals a rocky terrain labeled 'Prilenskoje Plato', while another show a giant fish popping out of the Sea of Japan. On the map of the Black Sea, separate shipping lanes are marked from the Russian port of Odessa; shown on a neighboring wall, a network of weather-map umbrellas denote the beach resorts of Hawaii. Where the truth ends and the fiction begins is anyone's guess.
In the center of the room, eggs in gold Fabergé stands are painted with map-like marks and hatches. Mir presents us with many familiar fragments from the past and the present that seem to underpin a healthy cynicism towards the reliability of maps. But as for helping us navigate her fantasy terrain—forget it, you're on your own.