© Peter Fraser


Peter Fraser (1953 – )


61 X 85
Accession number


A City in The Mind

Many years ago, I read an extraordinary novel called ‘Invisible Cities’ by Italo Calvino. In 2006 I reread this novel, and was moved to discover that not only was the literary and philosophical achievement as significant as I remembered, but now, it carried a much deeper emotional charge, and also met with a need in me to begin work on a new series of photographs made in London, the city where I live.

In Calvino's hands, each short chapter in this work is a new imagined exchange between Kublai Khan the Tartar Emperor, and Marco Polo the explorer who the Emperor has commissioned to bring back news from the breadth of his Empire in the late 1200's. In each exchange, the Emperor asks Marco about the latest city visited in his travels, and Marco's descriptions of them are fabulously poetic and philosophic, and encyclopaedic in their imagined range of possibilities for a 'City'.

A common belief amongst readers seems to suggest that in this novel, all of the numerous cities, Calvino has Marco Polo describe to Kublai Khan, during their evening discussions, are one and the same, perhaps Venice, but all draw on the notion of ’A City of the Mind’.

In London I have been making work which even though needing physical subjects for the images, will collectively suggest a City which we cannot physically visit, but can only in our imagination through the book and exhibitions of the photographs.

Peter Fraser
London 2010


Read more about these works at http://www.peterfraser.net/?p=455