From the time of its invention, photography has enabled artists not only to capture the world around them but also to create worlds of their own. Utopia/Dystopia investigates how artists from the late 19th century to the present have used photographic fragments or techniques to represent political, social, or cultural states of utopia or dystopia. Artists have employed a number of strategies to this end, such as cutting, fragmenting, and puncturing images as well as reassembling those culled from ready-made materials or giving a subject multiple exposures. The resulting photographs, photocollages, photomontages, and other creations question the validity of seamless pictorial images, and attempt to dismantle the notion of photography as an objective medium.
This publication features approximately forty-five exemplary works by artists such as Herbert Bayer, John Heartfield, Hannah Hoech, Arata Isozaki, El Lissitzky, Carter Mull, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Vik Muniz, Man Ray, Okanoue Toshiko, and many others. Also included are essays that offer new ways of thinking about photography's uses and implications.