Marco Polo Essay

The boards are left empty and open so one can have a look to see what is behind.

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I decided to build upon some of the themes from the exhibition and Calvino’s book in my essay, and to apply its ideas to the work of various contemporary artists in whose work I am interested, as well as to some of my own work and the issues I am trying to address.

Italo Calvino’s ‘Invisible Cities’ is a collection of surreal short stories about cities visited by the traveller Marco Polo, places where people act, depict and consider things that make no sense or are impossible.

Pipilotti Rist ‘s videos and installations often features billboards and consumer symbols.

Her installation at ‘The State of Play’ exhibitiondeals with the issue of consumerism.

This is a story of city of Armilla, an unfinished or demolished city – we don’t know, but city which has no walls, no ceilings, and no floors – just water pipes that rises vertically where the houses should be.

As Calvino deliberately puts – City without walls is an open city, a city that, perhaps, welcomes visitors.It is written as of a succession of dialogues – meditative conversations between Kublai Khan, the emperor and Marco Polo, the traveller and visitor to Khan’s Empire. All these topics are about issues I am interested in and are addressed in my work too.Marco Polo is describing to Kublai Khan various fantastic cities he saw on his travels in order for the Emperor to comprehend the sheer size of his own empire (home). I have specifically chosen a few of these stories to refer to for the purpose of this essay.Another artist whose work is relevant to these issues is Tacita Dean.Her film is visual meditation on seemingly polarised opposites – lighthouse and sea: man-made structure and nature, as well as position of the individual (viewer) in that setting.To create this installation she used a combination of video shots of an open ocean and various plastic and paper see-through objects that hangs from an apple tree branch, swinging in front of video-projector so it projects its shadows over the ocean shot.A shadow resembles fish passing in shallow water, or driftwood surfing the surface of the ocean, so it looks surreal and dramatic.Essay on theme of Italo Calvino’s book “Invisible Cities” applied to work of some contemporary artists as well as to work of Edita Pecotic Trying to find the right framework around which to build my essay for the module ‘Themes and Concepts 2’of my Fine art Degree, I visited the recent exhibition ‘ The State of Play’ at the Serpentine Gallery, London.The exhibited art works reminded me of various details from Italo Calvino’s “Invisible Cities”.This is a vision of Rist’s world of wrappings of various disposable objects one buys daily – white or translucent plastic bags, shovels, toothbrushes and its shadows mixed with wild nature of powerful ocean’s waves.My photographs of billboards with cutout commercial messages are about the same issue – the issue of consumerism within contemporary cities that results in alienation of the consumer as well as the producer who becomes also a consumer on the other ‘end’ of the circle.


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