By rescuing, reclaiming and re-picturing, Utopia Ltd. suggests that utopian ideas persist in contemporary art, making a provocative demand on the viewer’s capacity to produce utopian dreams of their own.
Lesson / Koan : Limited, but with limits.
The works in Utopia Ltd. represent modernist architecture and design in its various mutations within a spectacularised, commodified 20th century consumer society. In these works, the utopian dream seems to burst through again and again, despite rather than because of the permutations of commodity culture.
By picturing the past, present and possible future, the works of Blaise Drummond destabilize fixed linear time.
The works of Blaise Drummond ( featured in Utopia Ltd. ) are experimental set-ups in the field of fine arts. Over the immaculate white of the canvas, his repertoire of set pieces are (re)distributed to create constantly changing arrangements. These are fragments of the utopias of the 19th and 20th century, of Romantic yearnings for nature and enlightened Modernity; these polarities confront each other and thus create new connections. His works always oscillate between the failure of this Romantic idea and the discovery of a new beginning.
Influenced by Post-Minimalist concepts, Drummond cites the reduced, abstract language of the 1960s and 1970s and transforms this into a semantic system that now belongs to our general culture. Drummond refers to these roots using architecture by Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, for example, seeing them as locations of idealised human existence, which he longingly evokes in his pictures and simultaneously presents as an artificial construct. In his pictures, the architectural icons of Modernity come together with drippings of decalcomania in plant form, profane objects or fragments of nature. Every element appears to float in an unsteady balance on the white of the canvas as if it had found its ideal location, if only for a moment. Then the artist permits the viewer to expose this completely staged harmony as a illusionary world.
Drummond’s examination of the past does not produce any nostalgic déjà-vu; instead, it directs our gaze towards the present through the mirror of our history.
The exhibition’s title Utopia Ltd. is a satirical echo of an operetta by Gilbert and Sullivan, Utopia (Limited) or, The Flowers of Progress (1893), in which a utopian colony is turned into a joint stock company.
decalcomania |dēˌkalkəˈmānēə|noun : the process of transferring designs from prepared paper on to glass or porcelain.• a technique used by some surrealist artists that involves pressing paint between sheets of paper.
Does anyone recognize the house from West Until We Settle?