Christina Mitrentse, London-based, Greek artist and educator, is known for constructing narratives and poetic ensembles of idiosyncratic institutions such as schools, libraries, museums, through manifold processes of vintage book-sculpture, drawing, collages, screen-printing, and productions of site-specific installations.
The entire provocative collection of “Wounded Books” an on-going sculptural series, conceived and executed by Mitrentse in 2007 is presented here. Books shot with a Winchester 4.8 Caliber Rifle, under licensed conditions. Titles selected from the Wiener Archive London, reflect the damage done to humanity, the genocide and the loss of material knowledge. Penguin & Pelican collectible vintage books referring to hot Ideologies, Greek political texts published by PATAKI, linguistics, art books, and historical logs. These injured volumes have the solemn air of bibliographic relics, books that have been laid to rest, codexes whose pages support content that has become epistemologically fossilized. Here a bullet hole is as telling as an ISBN or shelfmark. Their ‘deaths’ also indicate that the book be it fact or fiction, is a foot soldier in the never-ending war of ideas, by means of which humanity evolves.
“Bibliophiles” is a unique series of collages, using residual parts from the ‘Wounded pages’ ephemera and collectable material, from Mitrentse’s archive gathered in London with their seductive dog-eared color corners becomes Mitrenstse’s trademark gesture. They span a broad range of topics, from everyday life, history, and architecture, frequently borrowing from old textbooks and illustrations. Mitrentse brings back the traditional collage technique using text and image in a fresh new look, referencing Carl Switzer, Eduardo Paolozzi, and Joe Tilson amongst others.
“Home Is the Net” and “No €-scape” are titles attached to new “Bookscapes”. Mitrentse transforms actual hard backs from her ongoing “ATML - Bibliographic Data Flow” into colorful canvases. These surfaces re-call abstract impressionism, and further explore post-internet text based “Landscapes”, in particular how the digital world seems to function as a referee between humans and nature. They imply a parallel between the unstable logistics of both scriptorium and “E-scapes” lifestyle, digital literature and the post-human internet, where copying errors were and can be transmitted virally. A selection of Mitrentse’s popular handcrafted “Mushroom Sculptures” and the “Neo-Classical Shrine” a new handcrafted pedestal alluring us in to drink from an old Greek vessel, are also featured in the exhibition.
Words by Michael Hampton, Arts Writer, Art Monthly London