An artist in the world of maps
Ever since I started working on maps and globes, I have attempted to provide the public with a cartography based on new landmarks, because the geographic transcription on map or globe isn’t as automatic as a long tradition of ethnocentric representations of the world would have us believe. Because I am French, I’ve inherited one of the world’s richest cartographic histories, but also a geography paradoxically closed to others or to plurality.
Since 1998, the absence of choice in the representation of the earth has been a main problem for me. Travellers told me about maps on which the world was upside down, or American maps based on the American continent, but it was impossible to obtain these in France.These models were oddities that were talked about, but never seen. As to the planispheres that one could buy, they were never complete .Certain parts of the Southern hemisphere were always masked. The atlas that I had chosen contained mistakes, often intentional, because these false indications are the only way of preventing maps from being copied.
These maps concealed the earth more than they revealed it. The renewal of cartography during the last century had already suggested this: for example that the situation of the poles, North at the top and South at the bottom, is the fruit of a convention inherited from the Greeks that gives the Western world a central position. As to Africa, why by some strange projection does it seem on many globes, smaller than it really is ? Many other configurations could be imagined, other scales could be tried out, maps could be arranged otherwise to give a different vision of the world.
These are the questions that I wanted to transcribe by my own means through drawing and line. I have become a cartographer, whose drawings are as precise and rigorous as I can make them. I love drawing lines on maps, in the same way that a calligrapher loves drawing letters :the quality of the line must reflect the meaning of the text and where maps are concerned, reflect a significant representation of the world.
My cartography is precise. It’s just my point of view that ‘s different. I have orientated my poles from East to West, to follow the sun’s course and to give everyone, once a day, a zenith.
A technical event – which was to my point of view as a cartography artist alos a near miracle- appeared to confirm my intuitions and enrich my work.
Thanks to Google Earth, pictures of the earth are free for use and one can download multiple images of the planet, taken under every angle and from every imaginable point of view. As a portraitist diversifies the different aspects of his models to stylise and shape their features, I can now observe the earth freely, modify and multiply its characteristics, ask it to adopt different poses according to my fantasy.
Maps now glitter with as many different hues as the painters of the past could provide with their eyes and their technique. In the past the subject was Nature: today I can paint maps to describe her, reinvent her, maybe transform her.
The subject of my work is also transformation, therefore politics. My maps challenge the established order of historical cartography, dispute our certainties about our planet.. Therefore I have been trying, for the past ten years, to complicate matters. Always in the hope of putting the world to rights.