Closed today

A lecture by Benoît Peeters

The Obscure Cities: Imaginary Architectures Between Utopia and Dystopia.

The graphic novels “Les Cités obscures” (known in English as “The Obscure Cities”) made by the Franco-Belgian comic classics Benoît Peeters and François Schuiten show the elegant mix of architectural graphics and comic art. The action in the series often takes place in a retro-futuristic parallel world akin to ours, revolving around fantastic cities and buildings. These albums play around the patterns of an obsolete modernity – that of Jules Verne, Antonio Sant´Elia, Victor Horta or Le Corbusier. Halfway between utopia and dystopia, The Obscure Cities inspire dreams about the infinite shapes cities could take now and later.

The lecture was held to accompany the exhibition “The Obscure World of the Urbatect. Architectural comics by François Schuiten & Benoît Peeters”
18 June – 08 November 2020

Writer and critic Benoît Peeters was born in 1956 in Paris. He studied philosophy at the Sorbonne and defended a Master’s degree supervised by Roland Barthes at L’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. In 1976, Peeters’ first novel, Omnibus, was published, followed by another, La Bibliothèque de Villers (1980). Today he has 60 published works to his name. As a scholar of Hergé, Peeters has authored several treatises such as Le monde d’Hergé (The World of Hergé) and Hergé, fils de Tintin (Hergé, Son of Tintin). He has also written essays on motifs from works by Alfred Hitchcock, Rodolphe Töpffer, Jiro Taniguchi and Chris Ware. In collaboration with François Schuiten, he helped salvage and restore the first Jugendstil building designed by Victor Horta, the Maison Autrique (1893) in Brussels. Other collaborators for Peeters are artists Frédéric Boilet and Aurélia Aurita, photographer Marie-Françoise Plissart, composer Bruno Letort and film directors Raúl Ruiz and Jaco Van Dormael. He is the author of several short films and documentaries and also full-length film Le Dernier plan (The Last Shot). In 2012, Peeters’ biography of philosopher Jacques Derrida was published; it has since been translated into ten languages. This year, a biography of the Hungarian psychoanalyst Sándor Ferencz was published. Peeters currently serves as a visiting Professor in Graphic Fiction and Comic Art at Lancaster University (UK).