UJ Art Gallery
04 Sep 2013 - 23 Sep 2013



“In principle, dystopia is a response to and a critique of utopia, in its original form a construct derived from the Greek οÚ andτο?πος which literally means “no place” but that articulates the notion of a fictional society somewhere - in the imagination, in some unknown fictional or even known location, or in future. Literary and virtual fictions of utopias of social order are of necessity always deferred, that is, they remain yet- to-come future societies, but owing to their fictional character remain non-threatening and entertaining.

Anti-utopia describes the absolute opposite of utopia, which means that there will be no “new” whatsoever. Nevertheless, it could be regarded as linked to utopia in the sense that, although different in ideology, anti-utopia also tries to predict the future: its message, however, is a paranoid helplessness that will make a great debacle hap- pen. As a consequence, this disaster will not allow making anything new out of the doomed course of the world.

In images of a polluted, poisonous environment, Christiaan Diedericks’ masked figures in Exhausted Earth, 2008 - 2009, perform survival strategies in such a doomed world of technological utopia-gone-wrong. There is loss of a teleologically “safe” environment that does not provide shelter and security to its inhabitants any longer.

- Prof Elfriede Dreyer