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And in Berlin

Barbara Nicholls reviewed the topography of historical and current maps of the city of Berlin, discerning the territorial shifts formed by the layers of historical events.

Entering Berlin in 2009 Nicholls was armed with her established themes of research and creative practice; questions of surface, depth, chance, order, the found, the fabricated, systems of mapping, both archaeological and geographical.

Further metaphorical maps were created using a variety of sources; architectural form and detail, blocks of granite pavement, indecipherable graffiti, fragments of The Wall covered in chewing gum, and evidence of historical boundaries.

The approach to making these works on wood and paper is in part that of the archaeologist and part that of the cartographer, mapping out and sifting through the detritus of evidence. There is a sense of reference, retrieval and meaning, which combine connections made to navigate, create and construct new forms and labyrinthine structures.

Born in Cheshire and lives in London Nicholls graduated from Goldsmiths College in 1986, the University of East London in 1998 with an Masters in Fine Art , and  a Doctorate in Fine Art in 2006.

She has exhibited Nationally and Internationally including The Trench Imperial War Museum London, Borderlines ArToll Germany, Borders Codes and Crossings APT Gallery London and Milchhof Berlin, Emerge AVA London, London in Six Easy Steps ICA, Characters in Fire, The Gate and the Electric Cinema, British Council residency and touring exhibition, Brazil.

These works have been created from residencies in Berlin and Bedburg- Hau Germany, as part of an Arts Council Award.

What people are saying

Karen Raney

Maps have great imaginative potentialand range. Artists from Alighiero Boetti to Kathy Prendergast have exploited the ability of maps to stand for deadpan factual detail, for geopolitical entities, or for forays into the unknown. Barbara Nichols' blunt practice of stratifying, digging and gouging has created delicate and complex fictional territories that draw upon the language of maps without being maps. This work edges us towards another of the map's powers - to stand as a metaphor for the reflective act itself.