Everywhere we have ever been, all the cities we have explored, are written into our memories via our individual experiences. And these experiences form maps of travelled cityscapes – blocks we walked, cafes we frequented, subway stops and friends’ apartments. Melbourne-based artist Miso is inspired by the way we internalise cities and her forthcoming solo exhibition at Paddington's MiCK Gallery, Everywhere I Have Ever Been, is an almost impossibly intricate series of city maps built up from her own experience and memory of her last few years of travel.
Miso is probably best recognised for her street paste-up work; she is responsible for a series of symmetrical female figures that frame doorways along Melbourne streets and laneways. This new collection takes a far more intricate and restrained guise.
Miso's travel diary maps are made up of thousands of tiny pinpricks on paper, a seemingly painstaking process given the precision and detail in each piece. As she carves back the blank sheet, we are given the impression of shadow, sharp lines cut out to represent Brooklyn streets from her memory. She describes the physical process of creating the work as chaotic, taking her back to the London riots and Tokyo not long after the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, even the Arab Spring protests in Saudi Arabia. The work in this collection proves meditative and complex rather than chaotic.
What is most intriguing is perhaps the shape that each map takes. Miso's map of New York is a moon, her Kiev is a moth and Vienna is a bee. This is interesting as a comment on what becomes significant to us when we travel, the things we carry with us along the way (passport or shoes) and the things which are constant in the environment around us (the moon or a spider’s web). The pieces that form Miso's atlas represent memories but also memory lapses. Some lines are distinct and others fade out, just as streets are forgotten over time.
Everywhere I Have Ever Been opens at MiCK Gallery on Thursday April 11 and runs until May 5.
44 Gurner Street, Paddington