16 June – 17 July 2016
In Utopia (1516), Thomas More imagines an apparently perfect island society in which citizens share a common language and way of life. It is a text riddled with ambiguities, paradoxes and verbal games: ‘utopia’ itself translates as both ‘no-place’ and ‘good-place’. The book has repeatedly frustrated readers’ attempts to decipher its message. Confusion of Tongues: Art and the Limits of Language brings into dialogue artists who – in ways similar to More – explore the power of language to complicate and withhold meaning. As viewers, we are invited to imagine through and beyond the spoken and written word, to think and re-think, to look and look again.
This exhibition is a response to UTOPIA 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility, a year-long programme of events and exhibitions at Somerset House celebrating the 500th anniversary of the publication of Thomas More’s Utopia.