In Utopia, — subterranean fields, —
Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where!
But in the very world, which is the world
of all of us, — the place where in the end
we find our happiness, or not at all!
Elysium Gallery continues with its series of off-site events before moving to new premises later this year by launching the first ever beep2012: Wales International Painting Prize. The theme this year is Through Tomorrow’s Eyes and will feature over 40 national and international artists. The exhibition will take place in the large Volcano Theatre arts space on Swansea High Street and aims to celebrate contemporary painting on a grand scale that addresses serious subject matters.
Through Tomorrow’s eyes is the result of an International call out for artists who work with paint to submit work based on imagined scenarios for our world and its peoples set in the future.
Utopia is the human race’s ultimate aspiration – it gives us scope for imagining, inventing and reinventing possible futures and new worlds. What are the possibilities of the human condition in a Utopian context?
Is our idyllic Avalon a city-less world where widely spaced earth-sheltered towns offer sweeping views over the green plains, valleys and mountains? Where high-speed air trains link the communities, cycle ways dominate the human landscape, non-polluting solar and wind generated power fuels all vehicles, all food is fresh and home- grown and everything is reused and recycled?
Or do our futures lie in the sprawling Dystopian cities spreading their tentacles across the globe in the form of highways feeding the city; humanity is exhausting the Earth’s raw materials by which it is sustained, is it thus drawing the rest of the planet into its inevitable apocalyptic end?
One argument is that the future of the human race lies in its genesis –with a vital need to reconnect with nature and follow a more spiritual path. For this to happen, do we need to break away from the materialistic constraints of the city – its tendency to coerce the mass into subjugation and dependency – rendering them unable to survive outside of it?
The city can be seen as the embodiment of a collective human machine, operating not by individual choices, but by an enveloping and all-pervasive control and manipulation, of mind as well as of the body.
Oswald Spengler, in his book The Decline of the West, describes the megalopolis (city) as an inward looking organism; turning away from the sun, and creating its own language and soul. Such a built up environment could conjure up an Orwellian scenario where the mass is easily controlled in an enclosed cityscape compound. Some would say this is already happening.
Spengler states that we are now in the later stages of a Faustian civilisation where we are constantly striving for the unattainable – making man the ultimately tragic and doomed figure. Is the Utopian ideal then destined never to succeed? The idea of Utopia inevitably leads to recognizing the reality of Dystopia.
Utopia is our heaven; it is our dreams of perfected progress – the pinnacle of human achievements, social justice, prevailing peace and harmony with nature.
Dystopia is our possible hell; a nightmare where the human spirit is controlled and nullified in an environment that breeds fractured communities and distorted views of ourselves.
What would the cities and dwellings, the peoples in such a Utopian or Dystopian worlds, and its possibilities look like?
Through Tomorrow’s Eyes hopes to shed some light on this.
Andrew Hladky | Andre Stitt | ARINA | Dalit Leon | Geraint Evans | Hannah Downing | Damon Cureton | Paul Crook | Emily Cooper | Max Gimson | Orlanda Broom | Richard Monahan | Ruth Solomons | Steph Goodger | Cherry Pickles | Flora Bradwell | Freya Dooley | Heena Kim | Fran Williams | Jack Spencer Ashworth | Alison Goodyear | Hannah Hewetson | Jayne Anita Smith | Jo Berry | Joshua Uvieghara | Edwin Aitken | Ian Gonczarow | Laura Losifescu | Kaori Homma | Laura White | Lorraine McDonnell | Nanna Lahn | Luna Jungean Lee | Nina Pancheva – Kirkova | Penny Hallas | Philip G Watkins | Rhiannon Grostate | Scott McCracken | Sig Waller | Sue Kennington | Sean Puleston | Sophie Elliott | Eilish McCann | Zara Kuchi
Neale Howells | Dr. Robert Newell | Dr. Catrin Webster