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Agnes Denes

Isometric Systems in Isotropic Space--Map Projections: The Snail



Agnes Denes (1931-)


Isometric Systems in Isotropic Space--Map Projections: The Snail




Watercolor, metallic pigments, and pen and ink on paper with screenprint on plastic overlay


Sheet (Irregular): 24 × 30 in. (61 × 76.2 cm)

Credit line

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase, with funds from Charles Tanenbaum

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Isometric Systems in Isotropic Space—Map Projections: The Snail is from a series of studies of topographical motifs that Agnes Denes began to produce in the late 1960s. In these works, Denes plays with isometric projection, a method of visually representing three-dimensional objects in the two-dimensional format of a technical sketch. Here, she projects an accurate geographical rendering of the globe onto an unexpected structure—the form of a snail. A longtime advocate for human stewardship of and responsibility for the planet, Denes used this drawing and her other Map Projections to reimagine to earth and the place of humans on it. As she remarked, “longitude and latitude lines were unraveled, points of intersection cut, continents allowed to drift, gravity tampered with [and] earth mass altered.”

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