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Nearly a decade ago, in the catalogues for his exhibitions, Qiu Zhijie began to plot out intricate maps of the relationships among his various artworks. It was from this synthesis of research, writing, imagination, and action that the “Mapping the World Project” was born. In the hundreds of maps that have followed, the ink and brushwork of landscape painting outlines a coordinate system which condenses ideas, individuals, objects, incidents, and situations, weaving them together, and offering a possibility for understanding them in relation to each other. The intelligently schematic nature of these maps has allowed them to serve as blueprints for various exhibitions, notably the 9th Shanghai Biennale, which Qiu curated in 2012 on the theme of urban regeneration, and the recent Guggenheim survey “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World” (2017-2018) for which he created a monumental map that connected the works, artists, and historical milestones covered therein. Qiu’s maps also exist as discrete artworks, created in series including the “All of the Objects Series,” “All Living Things Series,” “Autobiography Series,” “Narrative Map Series,” “Spatial Map Series,” and “Action Map Series,” always keenly aware of their subjective, constructed nature. For the last ten years, mapping has served multiple functions in Qiu’s artistic practice: as self-conscious gesture, workflow chart, exhibition plan, intellectual exchange, political topology, and cultural research programme. These maps ultimately reflect the myriad identities of their author: artist, educator, curator, theorist, and eclectic cartographer.