Recent Map Paintings : Uwe Walther

27 April - 20 May 2022

“My paintings tend towards the classical legacy of landscape painting (inevitably slightly romanticised), but without taking away from the nature of the map. I want to keep the image readable, the tempera of the painting and the printed filigree of the map’s surface must work together and balance their separate perspectives: one, a bird’s eye view that is read close to, the other, a landscape, viewed from the distance.”


I’ve never been to New York City. But I’ve been seen so many photos, read so many stories and watched so many films about New York that I have a pretty good idea of New York in my mind. In German, we call it Kopfkino, or mind-cinema; those images or narratives based on reality and that can be played out in our imagination.


Other than travel, movies or books, maps also offer a good starting point to set one’s mind-cinema in motion. Maps contain information on terrain profile, vegetation, bodies of water and man-made infrastructure. The sole purpose of this information is to feed the map reader’s mind-cinema with facts. The imagination of the mind-cinema processes the facts into a picture of the world, at least that small part of the world that the map represents.


That’s exactly what I’m trying to do with my work. However, with the help of painting, I free my mind-cinema from the isolation of my brain and develop, together with the map, a credible visual version of a certain territory that is determined by the map. In my paintings I’m not looking for a beautiful view, a special light or a romantically beautified landscape. I’m looking for the typical, the quintessence of a landscape, or at least what my mind-cinema thinks it is. I don’t need other research and I don’t need to travel to the location; I limit myself to the information provided on the map and add to it only what I know about the world. Credibility is important to me. My landscapes are fictitious landscapes, and yet they are based on verifiable facts. If I succeed in what I want to achieve, then you could describe my paintings as subjective realism. 

Installation Views