Harriet Bart, “Ghost Maps”

Chemise and closed view of book.

Epigraph page of altered version of R. Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Map



Spread with project statement and images of Harriet Bart in work process


Harriet Bart (Minneapolis, MN)

Ghost Maps
Digital and fine press on Pictorico Kenaf 68 (coated Washi)
Edition size: 25
Pages: 24
Dimensions open: 7 3/4″ x 20 1/2″ x 5/8″
Dimensions closed: 7 3/4″ x 10 1/8″ x 5/8″

In 2010 I was a Resident Fellow at the Virginia Center for creative Arts in Amherst, Virginia where I had time to research, and develop new work. I brought a few basic art materials and several books to read, among them Italo Calvino’s fantastic and evocative tale Invisible Cities.

Settling into VA5, my assigned studio, I noted the light was good, the ceiling high, the white walls ample, but the paint-splattered and stained concrete floor was a distraction.

I requested-and was denied-permission to repaint the floor. That seemingly insignificant chance encounter marked the beginning of a series of new projects.

I started to see the encrusted floor as a palimpsest, a cartography of the creative process, even an archive. Attending to color and repetition, I marked off sections of the floor with tape, scrubber the spaces between them and took aerial photographs.

Ghost Maps began as a documentary process recording the absence and presence of myriad artists preceding me in Studio VA5. I finished working on the floor as I finished reading Invisible Cities. In its final form, Ghost Maps merges memory with mapping, as it suggests a topography of the creative world that lies beneath the mask of a city. At the end of the tale of the city of Zaira, Marco Polo laments to Kublai Kahn… The city does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand