Contemporary Cartographies. Drawing Thought

“Contemporary Cartographies. Drawing Thought” – CaixaForum Barcelona (July 25-October 28, 2012)

I find this to be a compelling image that speaks to the relationships between body, mind, and space. It forms part of an exhibition currently at CaixaForum in Barcelona. I have loosely translated from Spanish the following text found on CaixaForum’s website (

The exhibition presents maps generated by artists of the twentieth and twenty-first century who interrogate and question systems of representation. They are cartographies of physical and mental spaces that generate new meanings and new insights about different types of spaces (heterotopias, utopias, invisible or virtual). Thus, we become aware of the prevalence of the simulacrum of reality, of our difficulties to represent the contemporary world and notions of ideology and power implicit in the act of representing.

“Contemporary Cartographies. Drawing thought” shows how artists have subverted cartographic language, from the map of the world of the Surrealists to the cartographies of Art & Language of Artur Barrio. It also includes the transformation of cartography in life by the Situationists and the bodily cartographies of Carolee Schneemann, Yves Klein and Ana Mendieta. It addresses mind maps, from Lewis Carroll to Erik Beltran, the lived experience of On Kawara, the different concepts of space and also works that respond to the cartographies of power, like those of Marcel Broodthaers, Alighiero Boetti, Thomas Hirschhorn or Francis Alÿs.

The site also supplies very interesting links to different types of cartographies.


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About Stephen Vilaseca

Stephen Luis Vilaseca is an associate editor of the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies and Professor at Northern Illinois University (Illinois, USA). He is the author of Barcelonan Okupas: Squatter Power! (2013) and Anarchist Socialism in Early 20th-Century Spain: A Ricardo Mella Anthology (2020) as well as of articles in the Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2006), Letras Hispanas: Revista de Literatura y Cultura (2009), the Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies (2010), Transitions: Journal of Franco-Iberian Studies (2012), the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies (2014), and the Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies (2015).

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