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Marc Lombardi — « death-defying acts of art and conspiracy »

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Marc Lomabardi was an American neo-conceptualist who started out a as a painter but later moved to create complex mappings of the "uses and abuses of power", as Karen Rosenberg put it in the New York Times.  I can only recommend the following article on the net by Ben Fry (who also discusses other forms of data visualization, including his own) which gives a good general account of the artist's work as well as examples of the early stages of the process of building his "narrative structures".

As the artist himself puts it,

"I call them "narrative structures" because each consists of a network of lines and notations which are meant to convey a story, typically about a recent event of interest to me, like the collapse of a large international bank, trading company, or investment house.One of my goals is to explore the interaction of political, social and economic forces in contemporary affairs. … Working from syndicated news items and other published accounts, I begin each drawing by compiling large amounts of information about a specific bank, financial group or set of individuals. After a careful review of the literature I then condense the essential points into an assortment of notations and other brief statements of fact, out of which an image begins to emerge."

Strangely, the artist "committed suicide" in 2000, to the great surprise of his friends.  I'm no conspiracy theorist, but …

His narrative structures are both informative and beautiful, all hand-drawn.  I only wish I could have found an image on the internet that would allow you to really study one of them.  The best are from Ben Fry's article (see below).  I suppose we'll all have to hope for an exhibit, or go and get the book.  But strangely, it's incredibly expensive.

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