Big City Life at Cartoonmuseum Basel displays diverse visions of urban experience – from disconnected city planning to overwhelming buildings
A new exhibition at Cartoonmuseum Basel, Big City Life, is dedicated to work from international comic artists that explores urban landscapes and experiences. Some illustrators celebrate the city as dynamic and modern, others brand it as a place of vice and despair, or show its chaos.
In Swiss cartoonist Helge Reumann’s intricate black and white work, a story is told of human society attempting to exert control over nature. German illustrator Christoph Niemann uses colourful paint to conjure abstracted, fleeting visions of cities like New York, while French cartoonist Sempé’s images present the city as something overwhelming, alienating and isolating.
French illustrator Yann Kebbi’s colourful work directly tackles issues around urban planning and construction, telling stories about the disconnect between city planning and life on the ground. Belgian artist Marcel Schmitz, meanwhile, has created a three-dimensional cardboard city for the exhibition.
Other artists featured in the exhibition include Gabriella Giandelli, Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, Will Eisner, Thierry Van Hasselt, Lorenzo Mattotti and Michaël Matthys.
Images, top to bottom: Helge Reumann, SUV, 2019; Christoph Niemann, Lexington Avenue, 2019; Yann Kebbi, La structure est pourrie camarade, 2017; Sempé, Ohne Titel, 1994, Courtesy of Galerie Gossieaux Paris; Gabriella Giandelli, Interiorae, 2005
Big City Life is being held at Cartoonmuseum Basel from 13 February to 20 June 2021