:Xenotopia is a group exhibition that explores ‘out-of-place places’, particularly strange, fictitious architecture, and ‘xenospaces’, imagined, meta-geographic locations that exist only theoretically, ethereally or subconsciously. ‘Xenotopia’ is a term coined by British travel writer Robert McFarlane to describe an uncanny landscape. Xeno is the Greek word for ‘other’, or that which is ‘different in origin’, while topia is the suffix deployed by Thomas Moore in the title of his celebrated 1516 book, Utopia – a work of political philosophy manifested through the depiction of a fictionalized island society.
Through the expanded medium of print, each of the 14 internationally prominent artists showing in :Xenotopia offer their own unique explorations and visualisations of similarly fictional but redolent places of psycho-geographic ambiguity or putative architectural paradise. The works, which display a range of, often, tangential, anachronistic or merely tenuous connections and approaches to the printmaking medium, marry unfamiliar and idealised elements in a kind of flux where the alien
meets the quotidian and the recognizable becomes unknown.
Curated by artist Louise Clarke, :Xenotopia is partly inspired by post-war British architectural modernism and utopian social planning as embodied in ‘new towns’ such as Harlow, where the Gibberd Gallery is located. Housed within the town’s Civic Centre, the gallery, which opened in 1984, is the work of visionary Harlow architect Sir Frederick Gibberd and is run by the Harlow Art Trust, who are also responsible for installing and maintaining the town’s abundance of sculpture and other public art.
Artists: Emily Allchurch, Amba Sayal-Bennett, Berenika Boberska, Pablo Bronstein, Rachel Clewlow, Noémie Goudal, Sarah Anne Johnson, Katherine Jones, Catriona Leahy, Theo Miller, Paul Noble, Grayson Perry, David Price and Jenny Wiener