Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mappa Mundi

Mappa Mundi
2003- ongoing
Collection of unfolded balls from the field of sport, 12 Glass Frames, 140x160x8cm

Along active games the most highly developed global ones - are played with balls. When I slowly started to collect those items it became aware of the multiplicity of ways in witch they were formed and shaped.
It all started with a “Hacky Sack”, a fist-sized ball that was made out of triangular patches and had a label saying, “Made in Guatemala!” Cutting it open I found that it had a filling of black granulate that I later identified as being of volcanic origin. Something struck me than. I bought a ball made in the opposite side of the world, that was filled with a substance taking from the very heart of this country. It was a fascinating poetic thought and I was hooked.
I have to confess that it became an obsession and I have gathered more than a thousand individual items. Mappa Mundi is a collection of these balls that I collected on many years and journeys all over the world. The collection Mappa mundi was a starting point for a series of works that inhabit the idea of being ongoing collections. In the processes of collecting, ones own taste and vision, forms the individual core of a distinctively collection policy. While selecting I define unique objects belonging to a certain category and quality and therefore they are accepted into my private collection. Each one of the balls must have been played and has to have an individual construction pattern. Having fulfilled this terms the items are cut and unfolded along its sewing lines. Alienated in this way and presented in glass displays, they more likely seem to remind of ritual objects than belongings of the field of play and sports.
With their fillings of volcanic granulate, rice, seed, bones, reindeer fur, sound mechanisms, liquid and handwritings, each ball seems to reveal a new secret. It helped me mapping some unknown territory- so also the name of the work is related to this. Mappa mundi means Map of the World.
In my working method I sympathize with a 17th century tradition of creating ones own “Wunderkammer”, a cabinet of wonder, or a wonder-room. In their historical definition these collections often contained a mix of fact and fiction, cabinets were filled with preserved animals, horns, tusks, skeletons, minerals, as well as other types of equally fascinating man-made objects: sculptures wondrously old, wondrously fine or wondrously small; clockwork automata; ethnographic specimens from exotic locations.
As a artist/ collector I am got a lot of inspiration from the publishing’s and writings by “The Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge”, that was founded in 1660 and is known simply as the Royal Society. I understand this movement as a group of renaissance people that were collectors preserving the old and searching the new, traveling to foreign countries engaging with other cultures and were constantly generating knowledge through hands on experiments.
Mappa mundi- a ongoing collection in the sense of this world is a very inspiring but also difficult work to handle. Consisting of ten segments it is rather big and not suitable to be shown in many galleries spaces. Furthermore I would not consider about selling it in pieces because the single frames compliment each other and are a growing collection, unique in this sense.
It consists out of ten segments with three further in preparation. Nevertheless there has been an offspring of works originating from the main collection. The last one was a big size format 150x 300 cm that was put on display at the 3rd Beijing Art Biennale in Beijing 2008.

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