Curator: Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock
The Fordham University Department of Visual Arts Hayden Hartnett Project Space is pleased to present the fourth installment of our Online Portfolio Series with a selection of meticulously drawn and absurdly dense architectural maps by the Spanish/Libyan/Lebanese artist Tarek Abbar. Living in rural Japan certainly affected this globetrotter's psyche, and you will certainly enjoy this project if you are comfortable with horror vacui (the fear of empty space).
These works of ink on paper are all highly detailed maps of Japan created between 2015 and 2019 in an old house on a remote peninsula in northwestern Japan. Surrounded by cedar, maple, and pine, the studio's only neighbor is a lonely Shinto shrine, and these drawings of urban concrete stand in stark contrast to the surrounding landscape.
Drawings of buildings create cartography, enclosed by the metallic clouds of industry and watched over by robotic gods. The buildings look Soviet but are the Japanese post-war quick fix structures that repeat across the archipelago like a mantra.
There are two semi-concessions to nature in these works: Mount Fuji in spirit form and the inclusion of water, which in Japan is rarely found in its wild state, instead typically entrapped by concrete.