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Art of Graphic Novels at Arts et Métiers

On loan from the Musée de la Marine during renovation. Diving suite (Scaphandre de grande profondeur), 1882 Alphonse and Théodore Carmagnolle, steel body, water tightness problems was never used

Are you interested in futuristic graphic novels? machines? retro drawings? You may be interested in the graphic novel, “Paris Revoir”. A recent exhibition in Paris uses instruments, models, machines from the Musée des Arts et Métiers that illustrates Paris Revoir.

If you are interested in architecture, you may have seen more of these drawings from the novel at the Paris Revoir exhibition in 2014 Cité de l’architecture et du Patrimoine.


The Illustrator, François Schuiten and the writer, Benoît Peeters are the creators of “Obscure cities”, an award-winning series available in 15 volumes, translated into a dozen languages. The graphic novels “belong to a parallel universe”. Titles include: Paris Revoir, The Beauty and La Douce.

The Obscure Cities albums* “portray a sort of previous future in which architecture and applied sciences become strangely entangled.” In 1991, both authors took part in the contest for the Museum’s renovation.

Have you visited the Arts & Metiers metro station and walked through its “underground Nautilus”? That 1994 redesign is the work of François Schuiten.

Sample of the exhibit experience

The first things on display upon entering “Schuiten & Peeters Machines à Dessiner” is the diving suit (scaphandre) on loan from the Musée de la Marine. Passing images of the metro station, Arts et Métiers, an architectural drawing table greets the visitors. François Schuiten’s tilted table is covered with pencils, drawing sketches, ink, paints, drawing paper, etc. In the video projected on the screen, he draws the signature exhibition poster.

In the exhibit, we walk through some of the museum’s inventory (from their reserves) of rare and little-known machines. All the while in the background is a violin, the sound of wind through a tunnel or a funnel and an uneven beat as steps of observers pass by.

We have stepped into a dreamlike world where pen and paper await us at the end of our visit to draw machines. Ask for your pencil at the cash desk if the exhibition is still on.

The exhibition vividly communicates a set of old and new utopian representations of Paris (drawings, paintings, models) and François Schuiten’s illustrations of another Paris.

*Obscure Cities” note: Revoir Paris, is a mid 22nd century graphic novel, illustrated by François Schuiten and written by Benoît Peeters,. “Kârinh, the young heroine, is born in the Ark, a distant space colony that has broken off all contact with Earth.” The action takes place as Kârinth crosses the retro-futuristic city from Gare du Nord to Père-Lachaise, via Les Halles of Baltard and Notre-Dame. She discovers the Musée des Arts et Métiers and the metro station of the same name. The latest album, “The Beauty” – available in English – (La Douce) and “Paris Revoir” are other albums are on sale in French at the museum store.

Original article by Colleen's Paris, published at Februari, 2017.
Read the whole story at Colleen's Paris