By Simonetta Moro, VP for Academic Affairs and IDSVA Director
There are artists who work purely off their imagination, and artists who like to document or interpret something of the world around them. I partake in both sensibilities. A key aspect of my practice is to mine the historical archives in search for evidence of past geographical, topographic, and architectural traces of places I am emotionally attached to. So, when Elizabeth Ferrer, Vice President of Contemporary Art at BRIC House in Brooklyn, invited me to be part of the exhibition Mapping Brooklyn, I took it as a chance to explore the area around where I live, and specifically focus on one feature that defines my neighborhood, the Prospect Expressway, built in the 1950s under the supervision of Robert Moses.
“Mapping Brooklyn” has been co-curated with the Brooklyn Historical Society, where part of the artworks will be on display, and where I have spent many hours over several months bending over large maps of the 1920s and 1930s, including the impressive series of Sanborn Atlas insurance maps, a spectacular palimpsest spanning some seventy years (until the 1990s, after which mapping became digital). The numerous revisions have been pasted upon the maps with collaged details of streets, buildings, and highways, obliterating previous city blocks, houses, and empty lots. A faint trace of past structures is visible underneath some of the thin papers. As I drew from these maps on translucent sheets of mylar, I wanted to reveal these “hidden” traces by utilizing drawing as an archaeological tool. The final installation displays a series of drawings in intertextual dialogue with the old maps, in a paradoxical inversion of past and present.
BRIC House, 647 Fulton Street, Downtown Brooklyn, New York
February 25-May 3, 2015
Opening Reception: Wednesday, February 25, 7-9 pm
Brooklyn Historical Society, February 26-September 6, 2015
128 Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn Heights, New York