Macchi is known for his interest in cartography, and he has produced a broad repertoire of works that take mapping, territory, and descriptions of traveling as points of departure. Collage is paramount in his work, in which cutting and pasting depict absence and void. The artist created this multipart work during a residency in Paris. Referring to a city plan, Macchi drew and painted in gouache only the thirty-two segments of the Seine between the bridges and around the islands that interrupt the river on a map. He thus reduced Paris’s central body of water to a series of static geometric shapes, a serial unfolding of abstract fragments; similarly, by isolating the segments of the river, he undid the wholeness of the city. Distributed on the wall in accordance with their relative locations in the map of Paris, the fragments reflect the water’s flow, emphasizing its wandering path and its ever-moving contents, an ancient metaphor for the ongoing, ungraspable dynamism of human existence.
Gallery label from A Trip from Here to There, March 15–July 30, 2013.