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Drawing - No Man's Land

No Man's Land

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    United Kingdom (made)

  • Date:

    2001 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Wenman, Neil, born 1975 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil on cut and layered paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the artist

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

As a student of architecture Neil Wenman was interested in the theory and philosophy of architecture as much as in actually making buildings. This drawing was inspired by Wenman’s visit to Berlin to meet Herman Koch, a former member of the Stasi, the much-feared security police of communist East Germany. As a young cartographer in 1961, Koch had the task of mapping the location of the Berlin Wall. In 1990 he managed its demolition.

From conversations with Koch, Wenman developed the concept of ‘mapping’ the history of Berlin in a single drawing. The drawing shows former land use along one stretch of the wall. A graveyard, water wells and the sites of former houses are indicated through rectangular apertures of varying sizes, layered one beneath another.

A book by Wenman, Writing the City: Das Berliner Palimpsest, accompanies the drawing (Museum no. E.3022-2004).

Physical description

Rectangular landscape format work on multiple sheets, each cut into in various places and suspended one behind the other in a deep, double-sided frame. The sheets behind those on the two outer surfaces can be seen successively through the apertures cut away as part of the image.
The overall appearance is of a long strip of tiny, slightly less small, and then larger 'windows' in horizontal, parallel lines, partly evenly spaced, partly with irregular gaps between, surrounded on upper and lower margins by a wide expanse of white card, deeper at the bottom than at the top. A wider, longer aperture is situated slightly to left of centre below the massed 'window' apertures.
There are also drawn lines, some of which broken, as part of the image. In the larger cut-away areas dark, grey-black swirling patterns can be seen.

Place of Origin

United Kingdom (made)


2001 (made)


Wenman, Neil, born 1975 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Pencil on cut and layered paper


Height: 46. 5 cm outside size of frame, Width: 103. 5 cm outside size of frame, Depth: 7 cm outside size of frame, Height: 40.2 cm sight size excluding frame, Width: 97.3 cm sight size excluding frame, Width: 2. 9 cm face surface of frame, Depth: 1.2 cm reveal of frame (between face and glass)

Object history note

Given by the artist, 2004

Descriptive line

'No Man's Land' drawing and cut paper work, by Neil Wenman; United Kingdom, 2001

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Owens, Susan, The Art of Drawing British Masters and Methods since 1600, V&A Publishing, London, 2013, p. 196-197, fig. 156

Labels and date

Wenman's drawing was inspired by conversations with cartographer Herman Koch. In 1961, Koch had been responsible for mapping the location of the Berlin Wall. Wenman's aim here was to 'map' the history of Berlin in a single layered drawing, showing former land use, such as housing, wells, and graveyards, along part of the wall. [2007]


Paper; Pencil


Cut paper; Drawing

Subjects depicted

Palimpsest; History


Architecture; Archaeology; Drawings; Politics

Production Type



Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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