clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Artist's Precise Paper Cities Tell Stories of Disease and War

Like the work of other paper sculptors, the work of British artist Matthew Picton is astoundingly delicate, and his method necessarily meticulous. But what's perhaps most compelling about Picton's Paper Sculptures has little to do with the precision in which he constructs the architecture or the way the spines of river and alleyways form in the gaps; what's truly impressive is the the research he does to make each city plan all the more realistic. While some of Picton's works are straight-forward replicas of cities like Portland (above) and San Francisco, he also builds historical models of cities ravaged by war or illness. For example, for London 1940, Picton researched historical records of the bomb devastation during World War II, then burned the wards of his east London replica according to the damage maps. He did the same for cholera-stricken Venice and 9/11 Lower Manhattan. These models of inorganic structures each tell a human story, all "by deconstructing the clean, uncompromising aesthetic of the cartographic city plan," per the statement on his official site. More amazing photos, below.

? On the left, London's Waterloo, as ravage by World War II. On the right, London's Bloomsbury, similarly damaged.

? Picton's Venice was built based on excerpts from Thomas Mann's Death in Venice, based on the writer's visit to the city in 1911, when a cholera outbreak burned through the city.

? Smoke in lower Manhattan in NYC.

? Dallas on November 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

· Matthew Picton's Paper Sculptures [Official site via Flavorwire via Faith is Torment]
· All Cool Paper Thing posts [Curbed National]