The Magic Line in Matteo Pericoli's Unfurled Cities

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    The chapter discusses Manhattan Unfurled (2001) and London Unfurled (2011) by architect/illustrator Matteo Pericoli (, two beautiful books in accordion format containing a collection of pen and ink drawings of the two cities’ skyline. Pericoli’s line is silent and yet it tells a lot, it becomes a simple but effective device in order to capture "the image(s)" of the city, to narrate its story, a story that no illustrated book, even the most accomplished one, can fully comprise between its covers.
    The chapter’s significance is two-fold, on one hand it locates with historical rigour Pericoli’s work within the established tradition of the art of urban sketching, suggesting similarities and contrapositions, so that the scale and originality of his earnest creation emerges clearly, on the other it posits Pericoli’s work in the wider theoretical debate regarding the representation of urban space, by considering the formations and functions of the illusory power of representation. The city is inseparable from its representations, but it is neither identical with nor reducible to them – and so it asks complex questions about how representations traffic between physical and mental space and render the city legible, responsive to our desires to read and see it.
    Discourses concerning the current (and future) representation of our cities are extremely topical, Pericoli’s drawing project contributes significantly to the perennial attempt to make order out of the urban chaos by adopting the universal language of the line, the one that crosses the boundary between writing and painting.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationImages (III) - Images of the City
    Subtitle of host publicationThe Conference Proceedings
    EditorsVeronika Bernard, Hatice Ovgu Tuzun
    Place of PublicationBerlin
    PublisherLIT Verlag
    Number of pages11
    ISBN (Print)9783643905116
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    EventImages (III) - Images of the City - Austrian Cultural Forum, Istanbul, Turkey
    Duration: 31 Oct 20131 Nov 2013

    Publication series

    NameEthnologie / Anthropology


    ConferenceImages (III) - Images of the City


    • Pericoli
    • Architecture
    • Cultural encounter
    • Urban space


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