Stephen Walter, Nova Utopia, 2013 (detail) © Stephen Walter. Courtesy TAG Fine Arts and Shapero Modern
‘This map is essentially a collection of a number of utopian and dystopian manifestations, some that I yearn for, and also some of the things that I wish didn’t exist.’
Shapero Modern are presenting a new print by the acclaimed British artist Stephen Walter.
Entitled Nova Utopia, the artwork is inspired by Thomas More’s philosophical novel Utopia, and a map of the world he imagined drawn by Abraham Ortelius. ‘Utopia’ by Thomas More, a work of fiction and a political philosophy written 500 years ago in 1516, is an everlasting inspiration for both political theory and art. This book, a narrative depicting a fictional island society and its religious, social and political customs, is about persisting human desire to create order and unity in the world, and the imagination of a perfect human society where justice exists for all. Walter’s hand-drawn map updates this to the 21st century, showing a world of mass tourism, package holidays, retirement homes, luxury resorts, banking districts and cultural hotspots.
Nova Utopia is presented inside a ‘Hagioscope Frame’, with a movable magnifying glass lens, so rather than Utopia being a place for everybody, only one person may view a detail of the map at a time, creating a very personal, local experience that becomes a kind of metaphor for how utopias may be seen today.
Stephen Walter, Nova Utopia, 2013, detail through Hagioscope, Courtesy TAG Fine Arts
Stephen Walter Nova Utopia 13th – 30th April, 2016 at Shapero Modern 32 St. George Street, London W1S 2EA Private View: Tuesday, 12th April, 6 – 8.30pm
About The Artist
Born in 1975, Walter graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2001 and currently lives and works in London. Solo shows include Anthropocene – TAG Fine Arts @ LondonNewcastle Space, Shoreditch, London (2013); The Island – The Courtauld Institute, London (with TAG Fine Arts), Touring Show – including, Burgh House & Hampstead Museum, Exposure Gallery, London (2009); The Island – Launch, The Crypt, St. Pancras Church, London (with TAG Fine Arts) (2008); Old Master Re-Vamp – Royal Academy of Arts, Lower Sackler Wing, London (2007); Be Aware of Everything – The Drawing Gallery, London, Chance Meetings – Vertigo Gallery, London (2005). Group shows include The World in a Mirror – Museum aan de Stroom, Antwerp, Belgium, Children’s Poly-Olbion – Royal Geographical Society, London & The Forum, University of Exeter (2015); alpha beta carta, des mots dans les cartes- – Parc culturel de Rentilly, France, RE: DEFINE 2014 – Dallas Contemporary, USA; Enclosure – Danielle Arnaud Gallery, London (2014). His work features in numerous collections including Victoria & Albert Museum, The British Museum, The British Library, Deutsche Bank, London, British Government Art Collection, Houses of Parliament Museums, London, Trussardi Foundation, Milan, Italy, Hiscox PLC, UK, Soho House – Berlin & London, London Transport Museum, David Roberts, London. Walters is represented by TAG Fine Arts, London