Kingdom Paradise

Christian Gottlieb Priber and contemporary social utopias. Exhibition and accompanying programme

Tape-Art-Bilder von Michael Townsend und Emily Bryant (Providence/US) in Zittau, © Städtische Museen Zittau

Social utopias of yesterday and today – a recurrent theme in times of crisis and the focus of a project by the Municipal Museums of Zittau. The title “Kingdom Paradise” refers to the unusual story of the only known plan for a worldly utopia in the 18th century. It is associated with the name Christian Gottlieb Priber. Priber, an attorney from the Saxon region of Oberlausitz, took leave of his bourgeois life in Germany in 1735 to resettle in one of the newly founded British colonies in North America. There he joined an Indian tribe and attempted to implement his concept of a commonwealth which he had drafted in secret while in Germany. In a community without private property, race, class or gender, he tried to achieve a paradise on earth. Inspired by this story, this project has developed a multi-disciplinary, long-term project in 2015 in cooperation with the ACC Galerie Weimar. It presented Priber’s utopia in connection with other historic and contemporary utopian visions of human coexistence and their depiction in art. In addition to fine artists, the project’s participants included film makers, theatre artists, writers, song writers, cultural historians, anthropologists, sociologists and philosophers. The exhibitions in Weimar and Zittau have been accompanied by an extensive programme of readings, interventions, workshops, expeditions to Oberlausitz and discussions. A theatre project will also be developed in cooperation with the Hillersche Villa Sociocultural Centre in Zittau, along with a conference titled UTOPIELABOR (Utopia Laboratory) with researchers, politicians and writers. The exhibition will also be shown in Providence, Rhode Island (USA) and Tromsø (Norway).

Artistic director: Frank Motz
Artists: Caitlin Baucom (US), Robert Beske, Agyenim Boateng (GH), Samuel Draxler (US), Francis Hunger, Ursula Naumann / Henrik Schrat, Fabian Reimann, Roberto Santaguida (CA), John Jeremiah Sullivan (US), Michael Townsend / Emily Bryant (US), Alex Young (US)


Städtische Museen Zittau

Klosterstraße 3

02763 Zittau