Les Demeures invisibles - Penthésilée
Project info

This photographic journey is based on Italo Calvino’s book Invisible Cities. Sylvain Heraud's work is broken down into seven series of photos illustrating seven of Italo Calvino’s cities. The photos depict various aspects of the chosen imaginary cities, enabling the reader to visualise them. The collection was therefore named Invisible Dwellings, in parallel with Invisible Cities.

The photographs in the project were taken in various places built and inhabited by Man. The six‑year‑long project covered regions throughout the world, and resulted in photos that defined the architecture of the societies in question and offered a window into the past.

The city of Penthésilée

You can walk for hours in Penthésilée without knowing whether you have already reached the city or are still outside it. Penthésilée spreads for miles in urban clusters that are scattered on the surrounding plains. If you ask the people you meet which way to go, they make a broad gesture that could mean “Here”, “Down there” or “Further on”. Travelling through Penthésilée is like crossing a decaying land with no recognizable centre or boundary, to the point where you end up asking yourself if it is actually possible to leave.

In this serie, Nature has reclaimed the architecture. A layer of vegetation covers all areas of the ground and in some places, trees have even taken root. Vegetation clings to the walls and even enters the buildings. The flora consumes everything in its path. Architecture and Nature become intertwined, and the boundaries between the indoors and the outdoors disappear. Visitors to Penthésilée are confused by its meandering twists and turns.