Nina Katchadourian: When I started making art, the very first things I made were maps and one of the reasons I got interested in maps, I used to say, is because they look true. You can work with the form of a map and it comes with a kind of authority that makes people believe what they see there. The moss maps were a series of photographs I took because I recognized in these lichen forms that were growing on a big granite hill, I recognized patches of lichen that reminded me of actual places in the world. And making these photographs became like a kind of geography Rorschach, where I roved around on the hill and looked for formations that I thought resembled continents, some of them more closely than others.
The first map I ever made though was a world map, a paper map that I cut apart and carefully rearranged so that all the countries were suddenly in new relationships to one another. And a few years later I worked with the same paper map, but this time to make World Map II, I cut the map into long thin horizontal fragments and then rearranged those, creating what I thought about at the time as a sort of analog digital image. So this show begins and ends on this theme of maps. At the beginning we have the Moss Maps and World Map, and on the other end of the show you'll find a few other maps, both from the Morgan's collection and maps that I've made myself that prove that I've really never stopped thinking about maps. There may also be an autobiographical reason or a more personal reason that I'm interested in maps, and that's because my own family and background is a little bit like a rearranged world map.