In her talk, Elena Smyrniotis will discuss themes of utopia and human desire for a better world. Her work draws on Sir Thomas More’s idea of Utopia as a remote geographical location, an island or a landscape that displays a visual order of utopia and dystopia in an ambiguous and evocative way. The Island can be discovered anywhere in the ocean, or in the middle of a busy metropolis. Smyrniotis considers physical and mental units for measuring the distance between where we are now and the place called Utopian Island. She contemplates the opposition between two orders—utopia and dystopia—not by separating them but seeing them together at the same time. She considers the two terms within each other in order to feel the extreme intensity of their confrontation, especially in a time when a dystopian future is a real possibility.
Join us on Zoom: https://uiowa.zoom.us/j/96265709940
Elena Smyrniotis is a printmaking and installation artist with a background in architecture. Her work explores literary and historical utopian ideas through contemplations on the utopian landscape, with a particular focus on architecture, topography, and cartography. She earned an MFA in printmaking from the University of Notre Dame, an MA in printmaking and drawing from the University of Saint Francis, and an MA in Architecture and Engineering from State Petroleum University (Ufa, Russia).
Her recent exhibitions include a solo show at PINEA-LINEA DA COSTA (Rota, Spain), Artlink Contemporary Gallery (Fort Wayne, IN), and the Snite Museum of Art (Notre Dame, IN), where she received the Walter Beardsley Award in 2017. She is a regular participant, and in 2018 was a guest of honor, in the International Art & Design Exhibition at Selcuk University (Konya, Turkey).
Smyrniotis has held fellowships and teaching positions in cultural institutions around the world. Most recently she was a fellow at the Rome Global Gateway in cooperation with the Capitoline Museums, the Hertziana Library, and Geographical Society of Italy in Rome; led a printmaking workshop at the Gems Metropole School in Dubai, UAE; and participated in a painting workshop at the Painting School of Montmiral in Montmiral, France. She has taught printmaking and drawing courses at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Saint Francis, and was the 2019 Visiting Artist at the School of Creative Arts at the University of Saint Francis. She is also a founder and director of the Art and Architectural School for Children (Ufa, Russia).