Titled after Italo Calvino's beloved book - which imagines Marco Polo's vivid descriptions of numerous cities of a fading empire to Kublai Khan - the exhibition features the work of ten diverse artists who re-imagine urban landscapes both familiar and fantastical. Like Marco Polo's poetic imagery, which leaves the reader wondering if the cities he describes are real or perhaps all different versions of his own Venetian home, the works in the show explore how our perceptions of place are shaped by personal influences as diverse as memory, desire, and loss, as well as by cultural forces such as history and the media.
The featured works range from the representational to the abstract, reminding us that any city is as much an idea or psychological and emotional experience as an assemblage of asphalt, brick, steel, and glass. The artists translate various cities - or the impressions that they conjure -- in charcoal, paint, wallpaper, plaster, soap, and even light and sound, reminding us of the role all the senses play in knowing or remembering place.
The architect Aldo Rossi wrote, "In order to be significant, architecture must be forgotten, or must present only an image for reverence which subsequently becomes confounded with memories." If the city keeps our collective memory, as Rossi wrote, it is subject to the same deviations and mutations of time and, in fact, becomes a fragmented web of reflections of the original and perhaps, ultimately, something more. Invisible Cities presents a selection of artists' interpretations of the built environment and its reflection in our emotional, psychological, and intellectual lives while musing on the city's extended life in the imagination and in our dreams, conjuring up new images of both our past and future.