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Cities and Eyes - Frontispiece

Date : 1988
Materials : Pen, Ink, Watercolor on Fabriano Paper
Dimensions : 9.625" in. x 13.00" in (244m x 330mm)

Cities and Eyes - Frontispiece introduces the Cities and Eyes stories with the synthesis of two observations:

*
…cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else."


…"cities also believe they are the work of the mind or of chance, but neither the one nor the other suffices to hold up their walls. You take delight not in a city's seven or seventy wonders, but in the answer it gives to a question of yours."

"…or the question it asks you, forcing you to answer, is it like Thebes through the mouth of the Sphinx."


* 'Le citta invisibili' italicized Invisible Cities text is translated from the Italian, by William Weaver, in the English translation copyright © 1974 by Harcourt Brace & Company.


Visible Invisible Cities Illuminations© : Paul Haigh 1988-1995

Italo Calvino's
Invisible Cities, is a masterwork of urban fables that has enjoyed a world wide following among architects.

Paul Haigh takes on
Invisible Cities abundant visual metaphors in this series of 'illuminations' that  parallel 'the dialogue of opposites' in the book with the dualities and synthesis that characterize his own work.

Johanna Jacob in her essay
'Calvino's Reality: Designer's Utopia' for the Society for Utopian Studies Journal notes "…while using familiar visual elements, Haigh organizes them to reflect a new fantastic vision while also redefining lightness".

The main protagonist of
Invisible Cities, the explorer Marco Polo, recounts tales of cities that he has imagined within the empire of the great Kublai Khan. Cities and Memory, Cities and Desire, Cities and Signs, Thin Cities, Trading Cities, Cities and Eyes, Cities and Names, Cities and the Dead, Cities and the Sky, Continuous Cities, Hidden Cities.

Featured selections include :

Cities and Eyes -
Frontispiece
Cities and Memory # 4 -
Zora
Hidden Cities -
Frontispiece
Cities and Desire #1 - Dorothea
Cities and Eyes #3 -
Baucis
Cities and  Eyes # 5 -
Moriana
Continuous Cities -
Detail
Continuous Cities -
Frontispiece
Kublai Khan's Dream -
Lalage

Additional selections from the complete series have been published by
Progressive Architecture, Rizzoli and the Journal of the Society for Utopian Studies Vol. 9, No.1 1998.

In 2019 selections from Paul Haigh's
Invisible Cities portfolio were included in the Exhibition APOPLUS, Invisible Cities and Greek City Ports of the Ionian: visual art dialogues between Greek litterateurs and Calvino.

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Cities and Memory # 4 - Zora

Date : 1989
Materials : Pen, Ink, Watercolor on Fabriano Paper
Dimensions : 9.625" in. x 13.00" in (244m x 330mm)

Cities and Memory #4 - Zora continues the existential theme of the cities and memories series...desires are already memories.

*…the man who knows by heart how Zora is made...he remembers the order by which the copper clock follows the barber’s striped awning, then the fountain with the nine jets, the astronomer’s glass tower, ...the statue of the hermit and the lion, ... the alley that leads to the harbor...in vain I set out to visit the city forced to remain motionless and always the same, in order to be more easily remembered…

…but in vain I set out to visit the city: forced to remain motionless and always the same, in order to be more easily remembered, Zora has languished, disintegrated, disappeared. The earth has forgotten her.*


* 'Le citta invisibili' italicized Invisible Cities text is translated from the Italian, by William Weaver, in the English translation copyright © 1974 by Harcourt Brace & Company

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Hidden Cities -
Frontispiece

Date : 1993
Materials : Pen, Ink, Watercolor on Fabriano Paper
Dimensions : 9.625" in. x 13.00" in (244m x 330mm)

Hidden Cities - Frontispiece

*…Kublai was a keen chess player; following Marco's movements, he observed that certain pieces implied or excluded the vicinity of other pieces and were shifted along certain lines. Ignoring the objects' variety of form, he could grasp the system of arranging one with respect to the others on the majolica floor. He thought: "If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains."


* 'Le citta invisibili' italicized Invisible Cities text is translated from the Italian, by William Weaver, in the English translation copyright © 1974 by Harcourt Brace & Company.

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Cities and Desire #1 - Dorothea

Date : 1994
Materials : Pen, Ink, Watercolor on Fabriano Paper
Dimensions : 9.625" in. x 13.00" in (244m x 330mm)

Cities and Desire #1 - Dorothea

…there are two ways of describing the city of Dorothea: you can say that four aluminum towers rise from its walls flanking seven gates with spring- operated drawbridges that span the moat whose water feeds four green canals which cross the city, dividing it into nine quarters, each with three hundred houses and seven hundred chimneys.

…Or else you can say, …before then I had known only the desert and the caravan routes. In the years that followed, my eyes returned to contemplate the desert expanses and the caravan routes; but now I know this path is only one of the many that opened before me on that morning in Dorothea."


* 'Le citta invisibili' italicized Invisible Cities text is translated from the Italian, by William Weaver, in the English translation copyright © 1974 by Harcourt Brace & Company.

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Cities and Eyes #3 -
Baucis

Date : 1989
Materials : Pen, Ink, Watercolor on Fabriano Paper
Dimensions : 9.625" in. x 13.00" in (244m x 330mm)

Cities and Eyes #3 -
Baucis

*…After a seven days' march through woodland, the traveler directed toward Baucis cannot see the city and yet he has arrived. The slender stilts that rise from the ground at a great distance from one another and are lost above the clouds support the city. You climb them with ladders. On the ground the inhabitants rarely show themselves: having already everything they need up there, they prefer not to come down.

…Nothing of the city touches the earth except those long flamingo legs on which it rests and, when the days are sunny, a pierced, angular shadow that falls on the foliage.

…There are three hypotheses about the inhabitants of Baucis: that they hate the earth; that they respect it so much they avoid all contact; that they love it as it was before they existed and with spyglasses and telescopes aimed downward they never tire of examining it, leaf by leaf, stone by stone, ant by ant, contemplating with fascination their own absence.


* 'Le citta invisibili' italicized Invisible Cities text is translated from the Italian, by William Weaver, in the English translation copyright © 1974 by Harcourt Brace & Company.

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Cities and Eyes
# 5 - Moriana

Date : 1988
Materials : Pen, Ink, Watercolor on Fabriano Paper
Dimensions : 9.625" in. x 13.00" in (244m x 330mm)

Cities and Eyes # 5 -
Moriana expresses the duality of the text.


*…When you have forded the river, when you have crossed the mountain pass, you suddenly find before you the city of Moriana, its alabaster gates transparent in the sunlight, its coral columns supporting pediments encrusted with serpentine, its villas all of glass like aquariums where the shadows of dancing girls with silvery scales swim beneath the medusa shaped chandeliers. If this is not your first journey, you already know that cities like this have an obverse: you have only to walk in a semicircle and you will come into view of Moriana's hidden face, an expanse of rusting sheet metal, sackcloth, planks bristling with spikes, pipes black with soot, piles of tins, blind walls with fading signs, frames of staved-in straw chairs, ropes good only for hanging oneself from a rotten beam.

From one part to the other, the city seems to continue, in perspective, multiplying its repertory of images: but instead it has no thickness, it consists only of a face and an obverse, like a sheet of paper, with a figure on either side, which can neither be separated nor look at each other.


* 'Le citta invisibili' italicized Invisible Cities text is translated from the Italian, by William Weaver, in the English translation copyright © 1974 by Harcourt Brace & Company.

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Continuous Cities - Study Detail

Date : 1988
Materials : Pen, Ink, on Fabriano Paper
Dimensions : 9.625" in. x 13.00" in (244m x 330mm)

Continuous Cities -
Study Detail for Continuous Cities Frontispiece

*…I should begin by describing the entrance to the city. You no doubt imagine seeing a girdle of walls rising from the dusty plain as you slowly approach the gate, …Until you have reached it you are outside it; you pass beneath an archway and you find yourself within the city; its compact thickness surrounds you; carved in its stone there is a pattern that will be revealed to you if you follow its jagged outline.


* 'Le citta invisibili' italicized Invisible Cities text is translated from the Italian, by William Weaver, in the English translation copyright © 1974 by Harcourt Brace & Company.

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Continuous Cities - Frontispiece

Date : 1995
Materials : Pen, Ink, on Fabriano Paper
Dimensions : 9.625" in. x 13.00" in (244m x 330mm)

Continuous Cities -
Frontispiece

*…Kublai asked Marco: "You, who go about exploring and who see signs, can tell me toward which of these futures the favoring winds are driving us."

"For these ports I could not draw a route on the map or set a date for the landing. At times all I need is a brief glimpse, an opening in the midst of an incongruous landscape, a glint of lights in the fog, the dialogue of two pas- sers by meeting in the crowd, and I think that, setting out from there, I will put together, piece by piece, the perfect city, made of fragments mixed with the rest, of instants separated by intervals, of signals one sends out, not knowing who receives them.

If I tell you that the city toward which my journey tends is discontinuous in space and time, now scattered, now more condensed, you must not believe the search for it can stop. Perhaps while we speak, it is rising, scattered, within the confines of your empire," you can hunt for it, but only in the way I have said."


* 'Le citta invisibili' italicized Invisible Cities text is translated from the Italian, by William Weaver, in the English translation copyright © 1974 by Harcourt Brace & Company.

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Kublai Khan's Dream - Lalage

Date : 1995
Materials : Pen, Ink, Watercolor on Fabriano Paper
Dimensions : 9.625" in. x 13.00" in (244m x 330mm)

Kublai Khan's Dream -
Lalage

*…" I shall tell you what I dreamed Iast night," he says to Marco. "In the midst of a…land, dotted with meteorites and erratic boulders, I saw from a distance the spires of a city rise, slender pinnacles, made in such a way that the moon in her journey can rest now on one, now on another, or sway from the cables of the cranes."

And Polo says: "The city of your dream is Lalage.

Its inhabitants arranged these invitations to rest in the night sky so that the moon would grant everything in the city the power to grow and grow endlessly. "

"There is something you do not know," the Khan adds. "The grateful moon has granted the city of Lalage a rarer privilege: to grow in lightness."


* 'Le citta invisibili' italicized Invisible Cities text is translated from the Italian, by William Weaver, in the English translation copyright © 1974 by Harcourt Brace & Company.

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