Life and Death of Cities


Basic Information

Title: Life and Death of Cities

Sizes: 50cm by 50cm

Materials: Silk Gloss Paint, Cotton Canvas

Made: 20/11/2015

Availability: ‚ā¨100,- (excl. shipping costs)



The painting shows a set of buildings and a chessboard on the rooftop/ ground floor. If you follow the buildings in a clockwise order it seems that every building is rising up above the other on. This represents the life of cities as they are growing and get bigger and taller buildings. If you look at the buildings counter clockwise every building seems to be bellow the other one. This represents the shrinking/death of cities.

Furthermore the chessboard. First of all the chessboard is chosen as a link to Escher's Methamorphosis II and III and Sandro Del Prete's Chessboard. Both artist who also play with perspective.

Second of all it's a link to Ingmar Bergman's; Det Sjunde Inseglet. A movie in which the devil plays chess with a knight. If the devil wins the knight dies. If the knight wins he can rise up and leave.

And last but not least every chessboard has four towers. Also the painting has four towers.


Background Story

When I made the concept for Mon d'Escheriaan, I found out that if I put the cubes in another order I could create an impossible staircase seen from above. So I made a first sketch.

I also new directly that I didn't want to make an impossible staircase. I wanted to do something with buildings. From my urban planning background I'm interested in the growth and shrinking of cities. The impossible staircase therefor shouldn't be a staircase but should consist out of buildings/towers.

When I was thinking about the concept of towers again I remembered that I once wrote about towers in a text about chess. So I checked it out again to get some inspiration.

When I was checking out that text I remembered this famous chess scene in Ingmar Bergman's Det Sjunde Inseglet. In this movie a knight is playing a game of chess with the Devil to save his life. Or the knight would lose and die, or he would win and survive. I thought that it was quite interesting as I wanted to make a painting that symbolized the shrinking/death of cities on the one hand and on the other hand the cities becoming alive and growing.

I also thought about some paintings of interesting artist I checked out recently that include towers or chess such as Sandro Del Prete's Chessboard and M.C. Eschers Metamorhosis II and III.