The Map of Nowhere (Blue)
etching in blue from five plates, 2008, printed on one sheet of wove paper, signed and inscribed AP in pencil on the reverse, one of four artist's proofs aside from the edition of 15 in this colourway, published by The Paragon Press, London, in the artist's yellow frame
Plate 1521 x 1115 mm. (overall)
Sheet 1535 x 1135 mm.
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Lot Essay

The Map of Nowhere was published in the standard colourway in black an edition of 68, as well as three special colour versions each in an edition of 15. These special colourways were ‘Blue’, ‘Purple’ and ‘Red’.

“The starting point for this print was Thomas More's Utopia. Utopia is a pun on the Greek ou topos meaning 'no place'. I was playing with the idea of there being no Heaven. People are very wedded to the idea of a neat ending: our rational brains would love us to tidy up the mess of the world and to have either Armageddon or Heaven at the end of our existence. But life doesn't work like that - it's a continuum.

The print has a stormy quality to it. I don't like the plate being wiped too clean in the printing process; I like it to have a sort of antique, dirty look. The basic formal design came from a German mappa mundi called the Ebstorf Map, which was destroyed in the Second World War. It showed Jesus as the body of the world. My daughter often accuses me of setting myself up as God, so I made the lakes and rivers into my body. The whole idea of alchemy and a spiritual body fascinates me.

I wrote place names on the map with references to modern-day things like 'Internet dating' and 'Binge-drinking'. There are lots of jokey references to ecology and green politics. In the middle of the map is 'Doubt', because a philosopher once said: 'Doubt is the essence of civilization.' The image of a skeletal child is like an early anatomical drawing but here the child is covered in bigotries - he has 'Racism' on one hand and 'Sexism' on the other. 'Fear' is in his guts, because all bigotry starts with fear.
The map is very flat but the drawing at the bottom has a 3-D quality: it's like the difference between the realms of the spiritual and the human, or the split between mind and body.”

– Grayson Perry

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