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CULTURE
Fictitious Topographies
A Brazilian artist's solo exhibition re-imagines the urban landscape
by James Thorne
on 21 November 2011
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Daniel Escobar will ring in 2012 with "Fictitious Topographies," his first solo exhibition in the United States. Inspired by the ubiquitous influence of the urban landscape, the Brazilian artist has decided to remake aspects of real cities into creative works of art born from maps and printed promotional materials. By destroying and resurrecting the physical world, Escobar finds new possibilities in the everyday.

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The exhibition features several series by the artist united by common themes. "Permeable (Up Close)" takes billboard ads and perforates them to create a single, layered collage reflecting the artist's interest in the human form and commercial media. "Atlas of the Urban Anatomy" is another series inspired by Escobar's hometown Belo Horizonte and creates 3D fictional maps from actual maps sourced from guidebooks of the town. "The World" is a photographic series of details from pop-up books that the artist constructed from tourism material.

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Escobar's dedication to constructing something entirely new out of pre-existing forms results in a fascinating collaboration between the artist and his materials. On the one hand, Escobar acts as a modern version of the 19th century flâneur, exploring and imposing his imagination on the landscape. On the other hand is the landscape itself, rigidly constructed and resistant to change while constantly undergoing an evolution of its own. In the end, Escobar is both documenting and creating the landscape, merging his artistic endeavors with his passion for everyday topography.

"Fictitious Topographies" opens at the RH Gallery 17 January 2012.

Images courtesy of the artist and RH Gallery

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