“Venice, I saw you now you can die”

by Kitty Drake in May 2020
Share on Facebook, Twitter or Copy Link

Purple and pocket-sized, Desired Landscapes looks like the kind of city guide that might come free with your hotel room. What’s inside is more poetic: one piece, for example, is entitled “Venice, I saw you now you can die.” A love letter to the city written from the point of view of the rejected lover, it is divided, very dramatically, into five sections: water, earth, darkness, fire, air. A couple of representative lines: “I thought about leaving you many times before finally doing it… Can a lion ever be happy if it’s incapable of roaring?”.


Reading a travel magazine when it is inadvisable to leave your own home might seem like an act of self harm. But Desired Landscapes takes such a strange, refracted look at city life, it doesn’t feel painful to read. While the writing can occasionally get a little verbose, the artwork is exquisite. Photos of Mexico City are so close-cropped they look abstract: we see just a slither of a swimming pool; the art deco detailing on a door; an empty square. 

The best feature is a beautiful series of still lives, based around different snatches of New York sidewalk. Mixing fantasy with reality, in one shot, titled ‘Central Harlem, Lennox Terrace’, a discarded pile of pink fiberglass is collaged over a picture of a waterfall. Originally intended as a comment on gentrification, each street scene is deserted, making the images eerily resonant of today’s locked down New York.



Close Icon

Join our magazine club! Subscribe to Stack and every month we'll pick a different independent title and deliver it to your door. You never know what you'll get next...

Subscribe now