Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Invisible Cities

An ink drawing a seated artist in front of a wall covered in other illustrations.Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities has inspired countless artists and intellectuals with its whimsical descriptions of imaginary cities. In his famous text, Calvino poses a fictional dialogue between 13th-century Venetian merchant Marco Polo and Emperor Kublai Khan and intersperses it between fifty-five brief prose poems describing the extraordinary and mysterious cities Marco Polo visited during his travels. Calvino stresses the constant flux between reality and fantasy and describes how “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.”

At Rauner, we have an Arion Press edition of Invisible Cities with twelve illustrations by Wayne Thiebaud. Thiebaud’s drawings are meant to be invisible until the reader takes the action of turning the page. To realize this concept, the book was designed with the drawings printed on clear plastic in different ink colors, each matching the color of the following sheet. The images are revealed only when the transparent sheet is turned back onto the preceding page, a white sheet with printed text. This allows the drawing and the words to be read simultaneously.

To see Rauner’s Arion Press edition of Invisible Cities, ask for Presses A712cal.

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