Dedicated to the curious phenomenon of the philosopher’s retreat, HUTOPIA takes as its point of departure two famous philosopher’s huts: Martin Heidegger’s Black Forest cabin in the German village of Todtnauberg and the lesser-known mountain refuge built by Ludwig Wittgenstein in the remote Norwegian village of Skjolden. Both huts were constructed around the same time to serve the same purpose: offering their occupants the kind of isolation conducive to thinking the kind of thoughts that would go on to revolutionize twentieth-century philosophy. Completing the triumvirate of modern German-language philosophy is Theodor Adorno, whose theorizing was likewise decisively shaped by his American exile – another kind of philosopher’s retreat. Bringing together works by Alec Finlay, Goshka Macuga, Guy Moreton, and Ewan Telford alongside John Preus’s interpretations of these hermetic structures, HUTOPIA offers a properly three-dimensional reflection on the relationship between place and thought and the joys and perils of exile and retreat.
On the occasion of the exhibition opening, Ray Monk (Emeritus Professor, University of Southampton; author, Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius) will consider the importance to Wittgenstein of his hut in Norway, in discussion with James Conant (Chester D. Tripp Professor of Humanities, University of Chicago).