From The Library Of Dr London
Shewing passage through the capital from its gullet to its arse
Click on this plate to enlarge and savour the full detail of Adam Dant‘s map which describes a journey through London as if through the human digestive tract from the mouth in Whitehall to the rectum in Whitechapel. Adam has taken liberties with anatomy to place the brain in Westminster, the liver in Fleet St, the heart at St Paul’s, the stomach in the City and the genitals in the East End. Yet it all serves to illustrate his notion that “London is akin to a voracious and hungry organism with the Thames running through it as a peristaltic gut continually in motion.”
This is just one of series of ingenious maps of big cities that Adam has contrived to capture their essential qualities, portrayed in huge ink drawings of double-page plates from volumes in the mythical Library of Dr London – all executed while touring around European capitals this summer and exhibited in a show which opens tonight at Hales Gallery.
Map of the City of London as a stained glass of Gog & Magog – Logos of corporate finance stand in place of crests of the livery companies.
The capital as a phrenological diagram, indicative of the desire for social order expressed by London’s squares.
Paris – The Bones of Liberty. The figure of “Liberty Leading the People” by Delacroix is manipulated to correspond to Baron Hausmann’s street plan.
Zurich as Hellmouth - The mouth is located at the Bahnhof and the journey to its arse, where it shits coins into Lake Zurich, runs through the Bahnhofstrasse which is home to the biggest banks with vaults containing more gold than anywhere else on earth.
The Nerves of Istanbul - The inspiration was a medieval Persian medical diagram with the head turned upside down and, on this map, it corresponds to the more European areas – while the coloured nerves correspond to the ferries, which cross the Bosphorus carrying commuters who live on the Asian shore.
New York. Manhattan stripped bare in the four different ways – the vessels, the entrails, the organs and the ribs.
Toyko – Shunga Metro Map. Tokyo is personified in a subterranean fashion through wrestling figures intertwined to form the lines of the subway.
Adam Dant spent the summer touring Europe with his peripatetic atelier to create the exhibition.
Drawings copyright © Adam Dant
Adam Dant’s exhibition From the Library of Dr London opens tonight at Hales Gallery in the Tea Building, 7 Bethnal Green Rd, and runs until 6th October.
You may like to take a look at some of Adam Dant’s other work
Click here to buy a copy of The Map of Spitalfields Life drawn by Adam Dant with descriptions by The Gentle Author