Art Review: Whose Map Is It? @ Iniva

M@
By M@ Last edited 102 months ago
Art Review: Whose Map Is It? @ Iniva
Milena Bonilla takes regions of the Americas and 'unwraps' them - here presenting the region of Brasilia as though it were on the coast.
Milena Bonilla takes regions of the Americas and 'unwraps' them - here presenting the region of Brasilia as though it were on the coast.
The downstairs room showing various works.
The downstairs room showing various works.
Oraib Toukan has taken a hypothetical map of the Middle East and broken it down into magnetic jigsaw pieces. The parts can be manipulated on the wall by visitors.
Oraib Toukan has taken a hypothetical map of the Middle East and broken it down into magnetic jigsaw pieces. The parts can be manipulated on the wall by visitors.
River of Blood by Susan Stockwell.
River of Blood by Susan Stockwell.
The film installation by Bouchra Khalili shows migrants plotting out their travels, with commentary.
The film installation by Bouchra Khalili shows migrants plotting out their travels, with commentary.
Alexandra Handal has repeatedly written the names of vanished Palestinian villages onto card, separated out by region.
Alexandra Handal has repeatedly written the names of vanished Palestinian villages onto card, separated out by region.
Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa's schematic maps invite bizarre relationships to be inferred among everyday words and phrases.
Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa's schematic maps invite bizarre relationships to be inferred among everyday words and phrases.

For those who find the current Maps exhibition at the British Library a little academic, here's a possible antidote. Iniva gallery on Rivington Place has a new exhibition in which nine international artists provide their own takes on mapping. Indeed, Whose Map Is It? stretches the concept of cartography beyond snapping point, with audio recordings, magnetic wall tiles and schematic diagrams that look like they've fallen out of a geophysics graduate's thesis. The question sometimes becomes not 'whose map is it?' but 'what the deuce does this have to do with mapping?'. Stick with it. Like a traditional map, the longer you study each work of art, the more it reveals.

Shop window for the exhibition is Susan Stockwell's site-specific commission River of Blood (main picture), which fills a Thames-shaped outline with cut-and-paste street patterns, picked out in arterial crimson. Other pieces explore the changing landscape of Palestine, the tortuous paths of economic migrants and the history of Rumba dancing. See, we said it was stretching a concept.

If you find some of this a wee bit abstract, be assured that the exhibits get more legible as you climb to the upper floors. The education room contains some imaginative bonus items (draw your route to the gallery on a whiteboard), and the top floor houses a commendable video installation, recording the stories of economic migrants as they mark out their tortuous journeys on an atlas. In conclusion: not the easiest of exhibitions to mentally navigate, but rewarding to those who enjoy charting difficult waters.

Click through the gallery for a peek at a few of the art works.

Whose Map Is It? runs at Iniva Gallery, Rivington Place until 24 July. Entrance is free.

Last Updated 07 June 2010