The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Exhibition brings together an international group of artists who explore concepts of the ideal city
Invisible Cities Architecture of Line installation view. Courtesy Waddington Custot.

LONDON.- Waddington Custot is presenting Invisible Cities, curated by Flavia Frigeri. Taking its title from Italo Calvino’s novel, Le città invisibili, this exhibition brings together an international group of artists who, in different ways, explore concepts of the ideal city and discover the necessary coexistence of the real and the imagined. The exhibition includes drawing, painting and sculpture by Giorgio de Chirico, Fausto Melotti, Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, Gego, Shusaku Arakawa, Giulio Paolini and Tomás Saraceno.

Calvino’s Le città invisibili, published in 1972, imagines a fictional conversation between the Venetian explorer, Marco Polo, and Kublai Khan, the 13th century ruler of the Mongol Empire. Polo describes a series of wondrous cities which are geographically unspecific, yet imbued with glimpses of reality.

In the exhibition, the closest literal reference to a city is found in the ‘metaphysical’ cityscapes of Giorgio de Chirico (b. 1888, Volos, Greece; d. 1978, Rome, Italy). Calvino described de Chirico’s dream-like setting as a ‘city of the mind’; the steep perspective of an Italianate portico becomes surreal, surrounded by awkward shadows and melancholic skies.

Alternately, the lyrical, metal sculptures of Fausto Melotti (b. 1901, Rovereto, Italy; d. 1986, Milan, Italy) embodied, for Calvino, his most abstract cities. Calvino met Melotti while writing Le città invisibili and Melotti’s sculpture became central to Calvino’s description of his ‘thin city’. The writer saw in these sculptures the stripped back, essential core of modernist architecture. In Calvino's words, Melotti’s sculptures realised what a utopian city could be: ‘cities on stilts, spider web cities’. The artist was presented with a copy of Invisible Cities, inscribed by the author, ‘For Fausto Melotti, the thin cities and all the others in this book, which [are] also yours...’

In the paintings of Maria Helena Vieira da Silva (b. 1908, Lisbon, Portugal; d. 1992, Paris, France) the physical architecture of the cityscape is splintered. She used ‘floating’ lines to draught architectural skeletons and achieved a profound illusion of space. She noted, ‘I want to paint what is not there as though it existed.’ As Polo recalled cities from memory, so Vieira da Silva’s imagined structures and landscapes were constantly shifting, as distant recollections.

Gego (b. 1912, Hamburg, Germany; d. 1994, Caracas, Venezuela), in a series of Drawings without Paper, ‘liberated’ line from the constraints of two-dimensions. Her drawings describe true volume and space. Gego trained and worked as an architect, but her sculpture went beyond prescribed ideas of structure and the urban to more ethereal and abstract forms, linear environments hanging in space.

Structure described through a reduction to the essential line is central to Calvino’s thought and this exhibition. Of the work of Shusaku Arakawa (b. 1936, Nagoya, Japan; d. 2010, New York City, USA), Calvino wrote, ‘…lines belong to bundles of lines which may have a common point of departure or else may converge in a point, in which case they create perspectives.’ Maps, floorplans, and diagrams of three-dimensional structures feature prominently in Arakawa’s painting from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s. Then, working with poet and philosopher Madeline Gins, he redirected his energies to ‘reversible destiny architecture’, a term coined by them to describe an idealistic, utopian architecture. Arakawa’s drawings in this exhibition are from his transitional period, when he was beginning to think about the potential of architecture.

Giulio Paolini (b. 1940, Genoa, Italy) and Calvino maintained a close relationship. The two were united by a common interest in the space of the mind and its representation. While Calvino approached it from a narrative perspective Paolini questioned it visually. Their exchange was premised on conceptual grounds and it brought to the fore how space could be envisioned and mapped. In this exhibition the notion of mental space will be explored in connection with the idea of imagined city.

Calvino’s ‘spider web’ city swings over an abyss, tied with ropes to two mountain tops, its precarious situation opposing gravity. Parallels can be drawn with Tomás Saraceno’s (b. 1973, San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina) prototypes for floating cities. His hanging sculptures, including ‘IC 4970/M+W’ (2016) in the exhibition, are part of his long-term research project, Cloud Cities, which aims to develop a ‘modular and transnational city in the clouds’ that represents a model for sustainable and emancipatory building practices.

Today's News

March 8, 2018

Exhibition at Tate Modern focuses on an extraordinary year for Pablo Picasso: 1932

The legendary cellar of Jerry Perenchio to be offered at Sotheby's this Spring

Solo exhibition of "Cut Outs" sculpture editioned by Alex Katz opens at Paul Kasmin Gallery

Pritzker prize goes to Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi

Recently rediscovered memento mori painting offered at Koller Auctions Zurich

Exhibition brings together an international group of artists who explore concepts of the ideal city

Rijksmuseum exhibits 26 original prints by photographer Ed van der Elsken

Lead gift supports modern and contemporary collecting, initiatives

Auerbach and School of London artists triumph at Bonhams Post-War and Contemporary sale

Laurence Miller Gallery exhibits Bruce Wrighton's 'Saint George and the Dragon' series

"Somewhere in Between" opens at Wellcome Collection

Strong showing for Chisholm Collection at Swann Galleries

Charlotte Laubard appointed curator of the Pavilion of Switzerland at the Biennale di Venezia in 2019

Cristin Tierney Gallery opens a group exhibition featuring three artists

Rare early comic books featuring Batman and The Flash combine for over $100,000 at Weiss Auctions

Works trailblazing British female photographer Elsbeth Juda go on display

Exhibition at l'étrangère brings together the work of four women artists

Four oil paintings by Birger Sandzen sell for a combined $371,000 at Woody Auction

Building conservator specialist appointed Subject Leader at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

National Trust and National Archives create immersive suffragette experience

International Center of Photography announces the Reuters Scholarship for Visual Journalism

Blind singers break through Bangkok's sound barrier

Van Doren Waxter opens a solo exhibition of new work by New York artist Marsha Cottrell

Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami opens "Obscura" by South African artist Lionel Smit

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Porsche Super Speedster offered for first time in 50 years at RM Sotheby's Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

2.- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opens 'Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection'

3.- Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

4.- Stunning colored diamonds expected to dazzle at Heritage Auctions' Summer Fine Jewelry Auction

5.- US designer Kate Spade found dead at 55

6.- Vincent Van Gogh painting sells for over 7 million euros: Artcurial auction house

7.- Sir Stanley Spencer painting discovered hidden under a bed during a drugs raid

8.- Oxford's Bodleian Libraries unveil UK's first major Tolkien exhibition in decades

9.- Major exhibition at the Guggenheim explores decades of work by Alberto Giacometti

10.- World's largest freshwater pearl goes for 320,000 euros

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful