The Geographical Paradox : A Map of a Labyrinth


LEE Lenka

Year of publication 2019
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description In the essay Des Espaces Autres Michel Foucault explicates the term heterotopias and presents some examples - the word behind the mirror, the jail, the boarding school, the cemetery or the garden which - according to him - can symbolize the whole world. Another example of heterotopia is indisputably the labyrinth which - just as the garden - symbolizes an universum, but also the jail or cemetery, for example for Minotaur. The labyrinth, the maze, is a place where we are prohibited from using a map because its purpose is to seek for the right way without a clue. Labyrinth provided with a map is the same thing as a riddle with a solution or a moralization attached to a fable. Only the creator of the labyrinth should know its map. In the Czech cultural environment the allegory of the world as a labyrinth is connected with the baroque philosopher Jan Amos Komensky, who, in his treatise The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart,1623) describes a way for the pilgrim through the town/labyrinth at which end this traveller turns away from this world towards his own heart, where he finds the God. Komensky himself illustrated the manuscript with the drawing of the town, other illustrators and painters follows him to this day. The paper focuses on the problems of the (im)possibility to depict the hidden with regard to the labyrinth, especially in the area of Czech painting and drawing. The base is presented by the above mentioned baroque text as an inspiration for fine art, but we will also take into account contemporary artists (Petr Sís, Jan Hísek, Pavel Čech etc.)
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