Guiding thoughts for
Utopia Dystopia Nature
This exhibition articulates a radically changed understanding of the image of landscape and nature in contemporary art. Over 200 inspiring works - including 3 groups of 40 works - by 34 international artists, were selected to form a trigger for a rethinking of the future challenges in dealing with a nature in transition. The exhibition is the result of a two-year phase of research and examination of artistic, scientific and ethical positions.
Since the 1960s, there is a growing conscious about the ecological crisis of our planet. In turn, this has inspired artists to create works that show the changing relationship of humans to nature. The artworks shown in the exhibition span the period 1965 to 2021, loosely assigned as pairs of opposites or groups to contemporary themes and issues dealing with questions of understanding nature, landscape and climate change. Utopian speculations of tomorrow, including some pioneering positions of the past take their place alongside dystopian scenarios of today. The exhibition mimics this dichotomy of thoughts in the form of a "labyrinthine" in design and is divided into two thematic areas, Utopia and Dystopia.
Some of the artworks confront through the act of stripping away the perceived reality – an actual illusion - uncovering the dystopian state beneath. Others create possible utopic scenarios, arousing hope and a way forward, but sometimes also deepening despair due to their implicit impossibility. This is intentional, because nowadays the two terms have become interchangeable.
Through meaningful composed juxtapositions, the exhibition creates constellations that irritate the viewer, make us think and thus stimulate to act. While walking through the labyrinth, the attentive viewer will not fail to notice that there are artworks that could have been shown at both Utopia and Dystopia. And thus, multi-layered narratives and different forms of perception, ranging from the playful to the scandalous, from the narrative to the meditative, create the framework and energy of this exhibition.
This leaflet, in the form of a leporello, plays a special role. First, the information about the artworks is given. More importantly, the leaflet exposes the designed parallel connection of the artworks, revealing invisible relationships between the two, utopian and dystopian views. It allows the visitor to break down the separating walls of the exhibition to read the works as an interchanging discourse.
In cooperation with my students of the last MA Stream Curating Art & Media course, FUTURE MEMORIES is accompanied by an extensive supporting programme on site and online with guided tours, lectures, discussions, readings, and film screenings. A forthcoming publication is to be understood as a documentation reflecting on the exhibition and is expected to be released in May 2021.
Kowloon in March 2021