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UTOPIA explores imagery of mysticism as a vehicle for understanding the complexity and ambiguity of contemporary life and our unstable realities. - FAD Magazine

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UTOPIA explores imagery of mysticism as a vehicle for understanding the complexity and ambiguity of contemporary life and our unstable realities.

Utopia is a group exhibition with works by Sholto Blissett, Harm Gerdes, Nicholas Grafia, Donna Huanca, Bayrol Jiménez, Shuang Li, Cajsa von Zeipel and Ziping Wang that has just opened at Peres Projects.

Installation View UTOPIA Peres Projects, Berlin Courtesy Peres Projects Photographed by: Timo Ohler

This exhibition explores imagery of mysticism as a vehicle for understanding the complexity and ambiguity of contemporary life and our unstable realities. While the title of the exhibition makes reference to Thomas More’s 16th century book, De optimo reipublicae statu deque nova insula Utopia, the works also consider the Greek origins of the word Utopia – “ou” meaning “not” and “topos” meaning place or nowhere.

Bayrol Jiménez Danza de mínimos toques de eternidad (Dance of minimal touches of eternity), 2020 Painting – Oil on canvas 180 x 140 cm (71 x 55 in) (BJ11109) Courtesy Peres Projects, Berlin

An earlier title of More’s satire was “A little, true book, not less beneficial than enjoyable, about how things should be in a state and about the new island Utopia”. This emphasis on the affective experience of the text (as enjoyable), is taken up by the exhibition, which focuses on mysticism as an altered state of insight and transformation.

Installation View UTOPIA Peres Projects, Berlin Courtesy Peres Projects Photographed by: Timo Ohler

Works by von Zeipel, Huanca, Jiménez and Grafia encourage embodied responses, inducing mystic inner experiences These artists approach mysticism as speculative systems, with a set of ideals and spiritual connections rather than narrative approaches. The sensorial and emotional properties of these works examine capacities for self-creation and reinvention.

Installation View UTOPIA Peres Projects, Berlin Courtesy Peres Projects Photographed by: Timo Ohler

World building as a function of mysticism is also a motif that runs through the works included in Utopia. The imagery in Blissett, Gerdes, Li and Wang’s works probe the boundaries of their surroundings as a means for understanding and creating environments. These visions of the world emphasize affective atmospheres, referencing the nowhere that is inherent to utopia. Mysticism is shared by many traditions and religions, which demonstrates its endurance. These works which span painting, video and sculpture consider the influence that mysticism holds over truth. The artists participating in the exhibition explore these properties and interpret them in their own alternate ecologies and queer futures.

Nicholas Grafia Call-In Rage, Call-In Care, 2021 Painting – Acrylic on digital print on canvas, painted wood, string 140 x 190 cm (55 x 75 in) (NG18161) Courtesy of Peres
Harm Gerdes Untitled (05.10.2021), 2021 Painting – Acrylic on polymer canvas 180 x 240 cm (71 x 94 in) (HG18119) Peres Projects, Berlin

Utopia – January 7th, 2022 Peres Projects peresprojects.com

Sholto Blissett Garden of Hubris XXIV, 2021 Painting – Oil on canvas on wood 110 x 100 cm (43 x 39 in) (SBL11102) Courtesy Peres Projects, Berlin

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