Intertextual Cityscapes


According to his website, Matthew Picton is interested in “humanising the city by deconstructing the clean, uncompromising aesthetic of the cartographic city plan and imbuing it with the unique history and culture of each place.”

Deconstructed, his works — bird’s eye view layouts of cities including New York, Tehran, and Portland — are layered representations of the urban as art. Flavorwire explains:

Picton’s sculptures are more than just accomplished papercraft. The materials he chooses have resonance with the city in question, as in Venice, which is constructed from excerpts of Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, written after his visit to the city in 1911, as well as segments of the musical score by Benjamin Britten for the operatic interpretation of Mann’s novel, and the paper was ‘partially soaked in water and mud dredged from the lagoon surrounding Venice.’ In this way the representation of the city becomes a part of the city, at least conceptually.

At first glance, the pieces are detailed and beautiful but, as you move closer, exciting complexities emerge. Ultimately, what could have simply been a nice project reveals itself to be carefully and coolly constructed.

Caroline Kangas calls both Seattle and San Francisco home (though she currently resides in the latter). She recently received a mouthful of a liberal arts degree from the University of San Francisco and can be found selling pirate supplies at 826 Valencia or wandering the streets with her diva of a french bulldog, Elle. More from this author →