13-30 April 2016
Shapero Modern is delighted to present 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’ containing a movable magnifying glass with an LED light. Using this magnifying glass, only one person at the time can light and explore the artwork within, one piece at the time. This frame is a metaphor of today’s society since it goes against the idea that Utopia is for everybody, showing that this world can never be seen in total, but rather on a personal and local level.
The drawings of Stephen Walter have evolved from his fascination with maps, public signs, symbols, semiotics and investigation into obsessive drawing techniques. His maps and beautiful landscape works are rich in details and full of autobiographical references, epithets, hidden associations and wider contradictions, exploring the phenomenon of personal and collective experiences of real and fictional places.
Says Walter: ‘This map is essentially a collection of a number of utopian and dystopian manifestations, come that I yearn for, and also some of the things that I wish didn’t exist.’