They are basically a mash up of everything I love.
From a distance, they look like vintage maps that you’d discover in some dusty bookstore. (Vintage maps, dusty bookstores, ooh la la.) He created them using silkscreen printing, but they’re meant to look like woodblock prints, which I adore. Stepping closer, the maps themselves are thought-provoking, disturbing and funny. (Yes, yes, and oh yes!)
I especially appreciated his World Defense Layout Map, in which the continents are superimposed with delicate images of various forms of violence; and his Latest Practical World Map, in which place names are substituted with various characteristics — “Potential Market,” “Brain Drain,” “Never Mind”.
Exhibit text says:
The artist has sought to compile a new “encyclopedia” to put forward his own understanding of the ever-changing world, reshuffling various aspects of culture to effectively dissolve boundaries and meanings, just like a computer virus. Hong’s images resemble ancient classics, but are rife with intentional text errors, misnomers, and cartographic misrepresentations that offer a humorous commentary on the diverse and subjective ways in which the world is visualized and understood.
Here’s some more about Hong Hao.