Exhibition at the First London Design Biennial Exhibition at the First London Design Biennial

Cadavre Exquis: An Anatomy of Utopia

Artists and designers tackle the question “How can design and innovation make the world better?” at London’s first ever Design Biennale.

Poland’s responds with Cadavre Exquis: An Anatomy of Utopia by Maria Jeglinska & Klara Czerniewska.

This September, from the 7th through the 27th, London will host the city’s first Design Biennale at Somerset House. Among these exhibits, will showcase a unique and imaginative concept conceived and curated by Maria Jeglinska and Klara Czerniewska for the Polish Pavilion.

Founder of the Warsaw-based Office for Design & Research, Jeglinska is renowned for her work in design and culture and believes that in today’s world, research can trigger and generate new solutions. Czerniewska is an art historian, writer and curator. Deeply compelled by art and design, she has co-curated exhibitions across Poland

Created especially for the Biennale, Jeglinska and Czerniewska’s installation questions how the 21st century creates space for new utopias as it reflects on the numerous crises and failures of modernist social, political and urban projects from the previous century. Borrowing from the form of the surrealist word association game, the exquisite corpse, it invites the viewer to act as a co-creator of a proposed narrative. By assuming the role of the wanderer, visitors will face the choice between their own path towards an idyllic utopia or a disturbing dystopia. Whether their vision will be positive or negative will be up to them. The journey examines questions relevant to the current era and the collective search for a new utopia. Does the age of diversity allow space for idealist uniformity and totality? How can Utopia be designed? Is it possible to devise an algorithm to generate a utopian future?

By confronting two streams of (un)consciousness, Jeglinska and Czerniewska have chosen six concepts relating to the problems of the world of today. Distilled to abstract ideas (cloud, sun, house, high-rise, fossil, artificial intelligence) and presented in unexpected juxtapositions, these notions comprise fragments that amount to a symbolic anatomy of Utopia as an inventive tool for change.

“By now, the road from the outset of a thought to its implementation has become terrifyingly short,” says Jeglinska. “What we have previously witnessed as science-fiction narratives are creeping into reality. This is equally a blessing and a curse, sometimes independent of the original intentions.” The creators of the exhibit assert that “living in a post-utopian, postmodern age, we have come to a realization that utopias are human-made constructs, which upon their implementation turn out to be nightmares (dystopias).” The eponymous “no-place” (ou-topos) or “good place” (eu-topos) of Thomas More may be interpreted as a parallel world located in the unidentifiable “here and now,” rather than the past or future. Similarly to fairytales and fables, the utopian genre stimulates the imagination, motivating the audience to embark on a voyage. The mental journey to Utopia enlightens and sensitizes a person to their surroundings—a critical analysis of the present suggests potential solutions and scenarios for the future. values the collaboration with the London Design Biennale as a welcome opportunity to promote Polish design, its key protagonists and most valid ideals and trends. “The collaboration with the London Design Biennale has been one of’s cornerstone initiatives in the promotion of Polish design throughout 2016, along with the exhibition ‘Beauty and pragmatism / Pragmatism and beauty’ displayed at Triennale di Milano,” says Barbara Krzeska, head of Polska Design project at the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. “Procuring such prestigious partners is a breakthrough for and will enhance the reputation of Polish design and Polish designers in the international arena.”

The inaugural London Design Biennale will feature presentations from curators and designers representing thirty countries across six continents. A talented roster of international creatives and industry insiders will explore how design and innovation can make the world better with the event’s guiding motif, Utopia By Design. All participants, including the world’s most influential museums and cultural institutions such as Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (USA), the Triennale Design Museum (Italy), and the Victoria and Albert Museum (UK), among many others, will develop thought provoking installations that ponder the concept of utopia and the impact of design.

The Polish Pavilion promises to be a provocative and complementary addition – a must see for artists, curators, and designers alike.The exhibition will be presented at Somerset House, opening on September 7th and concluding on September 27th, 2016. For more information go to