Sunday, 15 January 2012

Bite 152: Jasper Johns - Map, 1961

Map, 1961, oil on canvas, 198.1 x 312.7 cm, MoMA, New York
The idea of a map is broken apart and revealed in its absurdity - America as paint, a country in its entirety represesnted by oil on canvas.

The states are barely legible and the outline of the nation even less so. Colours blends from one region into another. Text is integral to the collage. Stecilled letters are signifiers for massive areas of land divided up - scattered populations, statistics, differing politics, generalisations. Under this mass of data Johns' map becomes like his flag - referring to everything, and, at the same time, to nothing but the paint and canvas itself.