Artistic masterpieces reconfigured as bathroom mosaics, iconic buildings rendered in LEGO, a love affair with coffee told via biro embellishment of cup rings on napkins, insomnia explained through pie charts. The latest publication from Abrams takes you down the rabbit hole into the wonderland world of Christoph Niemann. Illustrator, art director and supreme master of intelligent visual humour, Abstract City is a collection of 16 essays, taken largely from Niemann's eponymous monthly blog for the New York Times. Inspired by his experiences as a German making his way in an unfamiliar metropolis, the essays track the confusions, frustrations and joys of Niemann's outsiderdom as it swells and falls, before eventually leading to assimilation in his adopted land, complete with the requisite passion for bagels and fundamental understanding of the subway system.
"Masterfully witty and sharp, yet all at once touchingly heartfelt, Niemann has fashioned an exquisite visual vocabulary dangerously deceptive in its apparent simplicity"
Masterfully witty and sharp, yet all at once touchingly heartfelt, Niemann has fashioned an exquisite visual vocabulary dangerously deceptive in its apparent simplicity. Using a variety of mediums, this catalogue of absurdities touches on everything from the minutae of daily life – the correct use of a doughnut pillow, how to keep a inner door open while collecting a pizza from a delivery guy – to grander passions with unparalleled humour and charm. At once entertaining and enlightening, it is a compendium of delight that pays tribute to the universiality of the human condition.
Text by Tish Wrigley
Abstract City is out now, published by Abrams.