Frans Masereel. The City

6 May 2017 – 2 Jul 2017

ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts)

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Piccadilly Circus/Charing Cross

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Presented in the ICA Upper Gallery is Frans Masereel’s early 20th century ‘wordless novel’ The City.


On display are 50 individual woodblock prints from the original edition published in 1925. Alongside this, a second edition (1987) of The City is openly displayed, allowing audiences to read the publication in its entirity.

Universally acknowledged as a precursor to the contemporary graphic novel, The City details the daily encounters of multiple individuals within an anonymous metropolis – observations that are born from Masareel’s experiences whilst living in Berlin, Geneva and Paris. These evocative monochromatic illustrations provide a definitive record of the banalities of everyday life, depicting the social hierarchy, objectification of women, bureaucracy, rituals and practices that defined urban life in the early 1920s and that are arguably still evident today.

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Exhibiting artists

Frans Masereel


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