Agnes Denes

Isometric Systems in Isotropic Space: Map Projections - The Hot Dog, copyright Agnes Denes, 1974
Isometric Systems in Isotropic Space: Map Projections – The Hot Dog, copyright Agnes Denes, 1974

For decades, contemporary artist Agnes Denes (b. 1931) has been challenging commonly-held assumptions of what belongs where and how we understand space as it is ‘supposed to be.’ Her work can be described as mathematical, ecological, poetic. Here are a few of her works in which she engages the practice of mapping.

Above, The Hot Dog, and below, The Doughnut, are two examples of Denes’ map projection drawings, in which she bends and stretches a map of the world over quite an unusual shape. As put so well by The Whitney:

“A longtime advocate for human stewardship of and responsibility for the planet, Denes used this drawing [The Doughnut] and her other Map Projections to reimagine to earth and the place of humans on it. As she remarked, ‘longitude and latitude lines were unraveled, points of intersection cut, continents allowed to drift, gravity tampered with [and] earth mass altered.'”

 

Tree Mountain is monumental in scales of both time and space. For this earthwork, Denes mapped the placement of 11,000 trees to be planted at the Pinziö gravel pits near Ylöjärvi, Finland. The trees will be maintained by the government of Finland for 400 years. In this case, Denes’ map becomes actually built, or planted, into the environment, in hopes that it will do good for centuries to come.

 

Images sourced from: agnesdenesstudio.com

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