This signed etching from 2008 is a limited edition of 68 from Grayson Perry’s Maps series. The vertical etching presents the viewer with a rich and complex map, inspired by the traditional cartographies mapped by tradesmen and sailors as early as antiquity and developed in the Middle Ages, when trade and exchanges between kingdoms, together with religious missions, determined an increase in their production.
That Grayson Perry enjoys layering his works with art historical references comes as no surprise to those acquainted with the artist’s work. In Map Of Nowhere, which also comes in a Purple version, the artist based his work on the Ebstorf Map, a famous 13th century Mappa Mundi which was, however, destroyed during World War II, in 1943, during the bombing of Hanover. Like its predecessor, Perry’s map follows the tradition of mapping the world onto a human body, only here it is Perry’s own body to be mapped, as opposed to the German map, which put Christ’s body at the centre of its depiction. Guiding the viewer through a myriad of symbols and fictitious places, filled with bittersweet comments on the artist’s personality, this Map presents itself as an internal cartography that attempts to visually encode the eclectic and complex nature of its maker.
Rather than a real topography, Map Of Nowhere represents a portrayal of Perry’s identity in all of its polarising and competing aspects, a trope the artist used time and time again in pieces like Map of An Englishman.