Arts & Entertainment

Map-Like Drawings Explore Manchester’s Social Issues

Currier Museum of Art Debuts New Work by Artist Larissa Fassler

     MANCHESTER – The Currier Museum of Art will premiere a suite of immersive large-scale drawings by Larissa Fassler that were inspired by her time as artist-in-residence at the museum. Critical Cartography: Larissa Fassler in Manchester opens on November 12, 2020.

      “Larissa Fassler’s works are extremely unusual maps. They plot how people of all types behave in our city,” said museum director Alan Chong. “This project is part of our long-term interest in landscape – of our neighborhood and our region. Larissa has helped us understand the social needs faced by our communities.”

Larissa Fassler, Manchester IV, 2019–2020, pen, pencil and pencil crayon on paper, 44 1/2 x 70 in (113 x 178 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Jérôme Poggi, Paris, France. Photo: Hans-Georg Gaul

      Fassler, a Canadian artist who has been based in Berlin, Germany for the last twenty years, creates drawings, paintings, and sculptures based on research and observation of cities. Her past work has focused on Paris, Berlin, and New York, among other cities. She is interested in understanding how a city’s architecture affects its citizens – both psychologically and physically – and in turn how our behavior shapes the built environment. Primarily taking the form of maps, her work presents a critical cartography by drawing attention to vital issues facing a city and by inspiring dialogue among viewers and citizens alike.  

      The monumental drawings on display reflect her impressions of Manchester’s downtown as observed over several weeks in the summer of 2019. Fassler spent countless hours exploring, observing, sketching, and mapping the environment and the movement of people through public spaces. From her initial observations, she conducted research on city statistics as well as spoke to members of the community. The drawings raise important civic issues, including the use of public spaces, the role of community organizations in supporting

Larissa Fassler, Manchester I, 2019-2020, pen, pencil and pencil crayon on paper, 4 panels, 62 1/4 x 36 in (158 x 91.44 cm) each. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Jérôme Poggi, Paris, France. Photo: Jens Ziehe.

the needs of citizens, and the effects of poverty on the physical and emotional health of a community.

      “Larissa’s drawings complicate our expectations of what a map can do,” says Samantha Cataldo, curator of contemporary art. “She visualizes complex social problems and offers the viewer a new way to access the information. As an artist, her role is to ask questions, rather than offer answers, and she inspires us to think critically about our own perspectives on the concepts present in her work.”

      Larissa Fassler (b. 1975, Vancouver) obtained her BFA from Concordia University, Montreal, and an MFA from Goldsmiths, University of London. She has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, among others. Her work has been exhibited widely and is in numerous public and private collections. Since 1999, Fassler has lived and worked in Berlin, Germany. She is represented by Galerie Jérôme Poggi, Paris.

      Critical Cartography: Larissa Fassler in Manchester is on view until spring 2021.

While in residence at the Currier Museum in the summer of 2019, Larissa Fassler explored the neighborhoods surrounding the museum and created large-scale drawings of Manchester’s downtown core. On July 17, Samantha Cataldo, curator of contemporary art, sat down with Fassler for a discussion of the artist’s work, methods, and new drawings to be revealed at the Currier in November 2020.





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