Build Utopia

Build Utopia celebrates the potential for humankind to not only explore or discover, but to create our own structures, meanings - our own reality.

Build Utopia brings together two figures united in their explosive creative zeal, detonating of conventions, and their remarkable cross-discipline exploration. Both William Blake and Sophie Tabeur Arp fearlessly followed their creative muse, placing the power of human imagination and artistic vision at the core of what we experience, who we are and what we can be. 

'Composition With Rectangles, Squares And Set Circles', the artwork in Build Utopia, is just one facet of Sophie Taeuber-Arp’s prolificaly impactful (but under-recognized) work across multiple disciplines and major avant-garde art movements of the first half of the 20th Century. The painting's geometric abstractions mark a creative realm beyond worldly representation, where the interplay of form, color and equilibrium become central to the work itself. This kind of abstraction slots into Tauber-Arp's lifelong dedication to Dadaist utopian ideals of changing society by transforming human perception with radicalized aesthetics. It is also an expression of the progressive ideals of Concrete, Constructivist and Geometric art of which she was an active and influential force.

William Blake is often described as a visionary,  a radical, and the greatest ever English artist, or simply the greatest Englishman, to have ever lived. Build Utopia's words are from his work Jerusalem the Emanation of the Giant Albion.

They are spoken by Los, the character which represents the artist’s imagination at work in the material world. In the final chapter, Albion (Blake’s embodiment of man or Britain or the Western world) awakens to discover that Los is Christ and Christ is Los. And indeed Blake’s creativity itself embodies Los’ words. Blake created his own mythology and thus possibilities, recasting through the fire of his own creative vision the materials of religion, history, and knowledge surrounding him.

These two extraordinary, fearless creators exemplify the power of human and artistic vision to disrupt, break and ultimately create our material and moral universe. To create ourselves. To Build Utopia.

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The Artwork

The Artist

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The Words

The Writer

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand 
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, 
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour.” 
―  Auguries of Innocence

“It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.” 

“A truth that's told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.” ―  Auguries of Innocence

“If a thing loves, it is infinite.”

“Tyger! Tyger! burning bright 
In the forests of the night, 
What immortal hand or eye 
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?”

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.” 
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

“The imagination is not a state: it is the human existence itself.”

“He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sun rise.” 

“A good local pub has much in common with a church, except that a pub is warmer, and there's more conversation. ”

“What is the price of Experience? do men buy it for a song? 
Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No, it is bought with the price
Of all that a man hath, his house, his wife, his children.
Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy,
And in the wither'd field where the farmer plows for bread in vain.” 

“Imagination is the real and eternal world of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow.”

“A Robin Redbreast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage.
A dove house fill’d with doves and pigeons
Shudders Hell thro’ all its regions.
A Dog starv’d at his Master’s Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State.
A Horse misus’d upon the Road
Calls to Heaven for Human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted Hare
A fiber from the Brain does tear.” 

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.”

“Great things are done when men and mountains meet.” 

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” 
―  The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

“Excessive sorrow laughs. Excessive joy weeps.” 

“Love seeketh not itself to please, nor for itself hath any care, but for another gives its ease, and builds a Heaven in Hell's despair.”

“We become what we behold.” 

“When nations grow old the Arts grow cold
And commerce settles on every tree”

“Do what you will, this life's a fiction, And it is made up of contradiction.” 
― Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion

“Children of the future age
Reading this indignant page
Know that in a former time
Love, sweet love, was thought a crime” 

"The intrinsic decorative urge should not be eradicated. It is one of humankind's deep-rooted, primordial urges. Primitive people decorated their implements and cult objects with a desire to beautify and is a sense emanating from the urge for perfection and creative accomplishment."

"The wish to produce beautiful things — when that wish is true and profound — falls together with [man's] striving for perfection."

"All around her is the radiance of the sun... She is full of invention, caprice, fantasy. . . . It was a dance full of flashes and fishbones, of dazzling lights, a dance of penetrating intensity. The lines of her body break, every gesture decomposes into a hundred precise, angular, incisive movements. The buffoonery of perspective, lighting, and atmosphere is for her hypersensitive nervous system the pretext for drollery full of irony and wit. The figures of her dance are at once mysterious, grotesque, and ecstatic."

Hugo Ball, on Taeuber-Arp dancing to his sound poems in 1917

"It is not possible for us to take ourselves back to the exact circumstances of those in a past era, attempting to create art in the style of the past is always inauthentic"

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