Jennifer Schlesinger‘s ‘Utopia’ – a series of constructed imaginary landscapes as the artist’s response to “the philosophical question of whether a perfect place can exist, bringing together life’s dualities into a perfect union of beauty.”
The word ‘Utopia’ was first mentioned in Plato’s Socratic dialogue ‘Republic’ describing an idea of how citizens could go about creating the ideal state, designed so there are no problems. It was Sir Thomas More in the 16th century who went further using it for a fictional island possessing a seemingly perfect socio-politico-legal system, and thus creating the notion of ideal society under the same name in which everything and everyone works in perfect harmony.
However, over the years the actual definition of ‘Utopia’ has been confused due to the different meanings of the prefix – as ‘no place’ (from Greek: οὐ = not and τόπος = place, hence “no-place”, strictly describing any non-existent society) and as ‘good place’ (from Greek εὖ = good or well and τόπος = place, hence “good place”, strictly speaking about a positive utopia). The marriage of these two definitions assumes that the definition for Utopia is an idyllic place that does not exist.
Examining this definition for Utopia, the artist’s intention is “to create a physical landscape, which does exist, if only in the paper-imaged form”.