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Themesicon: navigation pathMapping and Texticon: navigation pathThe Carthographic View
Map (Johns, Jasper), 1961Map of Broken Clear Glass (Atlantis) (Smithson, Robert), 1969Spiral Jetty (Smithson, Robert), 1970
No Stop City (Archizoom), 1968

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creating a veritable baroque of the surface. But with 20th century modernism, the map lost its allegorical virtues through its multiple uses. Jasper John's tautological eye («Map,» 1961) transformed the map of the United States into a painting (thanks to its expansiveness, its layering of the surface and its non-formalist inherent flatness. But Robert Smithson’s entropic eye, apparent in his land surveys, or in his «Map of Broken Clear Glass» also constantly confronts vision with antivision. According to him, the map «is a series of upliftings and of collapsings, a strata of unstable fragments.» Such vertiginous maps are indeed coverings for the transformations and representations of «sedimentations of the mind,» that plunge into nothingness, like the 1930’s architecture in New York with its forms that stretch themselves out of shape. The world is curved like all the spirals to infinity that Smithson is fond of (C.f. «Spiral Jetty»). In this way we have a broadening of the cartographic field proper to art. Through a subtle alchemy, it transforms space into time and into «a constellation of time» that are nonchronological. It is the Benjaminian time of remembering, where the past documents a


displacement of strata and of imprints. The skins of Parmiggiani’s or Pistoletto’s world, Alighiero e Boetti’s embellished maps of Afghanistan, the multiple riverbanks and shapes of all the fictive pantheons (C.f. Gerhard Richter's «Atlas»). The cartographic view lends itself to all the neutralities, all the transpositions and all the utopias, even all the «heterotopias» à la Foucault. From now on, the cartorama of contemporary art is endless, since the map is the interface of the world, as in Archizoom’s «No Stop City» (1969). And it is precisely this world-making quality of the map that generates all its paradoxes and its multiple logics. Since, however utopic it may be, the map can also become a highly effective machine of power. With the maps kept secret by totalitarian regimes, targetted bombings of sites, indeed of populations, the map truly is «a portrait,» an image «in meaning and in representation,» as «Logique de Port Royal» already described. In this sense, the map anticipated all the networks and a world henceforth in process and in passage: ours.

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