Add To My Library Vol.II

This is the official page for Add To My Library an on-going international Book Art project initiative and series of exhibitions in UK & EU. Mitrentse is known for having invented the innovative methodology BIBLIOGRAPHIC DATA FLOW that compiles favorite art book titles/authors, contributed by international specialists from the art world, i.e museologists, artists, curators, writers, academics, all adding to her idiosyncratic institution.‘The paradox of Mitrentse’s project is that it is both a sign of dissipation, of the loss of knowledge and the means for its transmission,and a conscious recouping or preservation of the culture of the book.” Peter Suchin, art critic Art Monthly/Frieze . 

©mitrentse 2016 all rights reserved. This project and its content are copyrighted by(L.I.M.A.) Reproduction of the project, concept, images or articles in whole or in part is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the author and copyright holders.

View Vol.III | View Meta-Library | View Bibliographic Data Flow Vol.II |View  Publication Vol.II

STONEHENGE , graphite powder & colour pencil on 410gsm paper, 150x120cm mitrentse 

Composed into a series of large-scale graphite & colour pencil drawings, collages & sculptures ,Mitrentse depicts books as the building-blocks of idiosyncratic institutions; i.e STONEHENGE, WWW, NEW TATE MODERN, EMBLEM,RUINS I, PODIUMS, SKOOB TOWERS after J.Latham FTHo,etc. The METABOOK a plinth-mounted silk-screened book sculpture and 10 prints entitled FLAGS/ EMBLEMS ,they all construct ATML Vol.II project. A spoken word performance by guest artist Douglas Park who embodies the Library’s body of knowledge as a living ENCYCLOPAEDIA- The men who became a book. Add To My Library is dialectically referencing the art practices of renowned conceptual British artist John Latham, while stimulates debate around notions of the history of ‘book destruction’ as seen in Fahrenheit 451 ,1953 dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury, among other reference points. It invites the public to re-contextualise bibliographic experience and reinterpret their believes in association with the closure of Libraries and educational centers in UK and beyond.In a globalised environment dominated by digitalisation, e-learning and restriction to education, Mitrentse’s project alludes to a Meta-Library designed to re-draw the cultural institution,and provokes changes in the function of the material book while in the process de-institutionalising it. Being a critique on the book as sacred object and site of subjectivity the ensuing works are humorous, sardonic and nostalgic at the same time. Mitrentse is increasingly known for her extensive commitment to drawing, as an autonomous,yet rational primary mode within her practice. Highly descriptive and meticulous, they marry aspects of Pop Art and representation to underpin ongoing manifold site-specific productions, enabling cryptic narratives and discourses to be generated. Limited edition Prints by Blacklist London. Publication layout by Trinity London, Photography by Dominic Mifsud. Writings by Art Critic Peter Suchin/Art Monthly & Frieze magazines, by Areti Leopoulou ,Art Historian /Curator CACT and by Michael Hampton,  arts writer/Art Monthly. Please see artworks & read full texts/reviews below. 

View: BIBLIOGRAPHIC DATA FLOW | INTERNATIONAL CONTRIBUTORS ON An MAGAZINE

View: ATML vol.II INTERVIEW -FILM | BY RAT COMMANDER PRODUCTIONS

Read: INTERVIEW ON INTERARTIVE MAGAZINE | BY WRITER C. GRAMMATIKOPOULOU

To view artworks Click on images below

Book upon Book upon Book: Christina Mitrentse

By Peter Suchin Art critic | Art Monthly & Frieze 

“This whole enabling structure is now much eroded.” [1]

“Everything, in the world,” wrote the poet Stephane Mallarme, “exists to end up in a book”. [2] With respect to the work of Christina Mitrentse the direction of this tendency appears to be, at first sight at least, reversed. She instead makes, even if they are sometimes only projections and representations, novel physical objects as well as complex architectural structures out of books, book-containers made of books, libraries whose walls are bound and bonded together with books, labyrinthine conceptual structures – often realised in pencil and paint – effectively formed of strings of titles stacked or, as it were, threaded together. Things are not so much, in this case, for or in books as constituted by such established yet even now arguably underrated repositories of knowledge and meaning.  Drawing on the traditional form of the book and not its digitised or revamped or “remarketed” version – the “Kindle” electronic storage and reading device, for example – Mitrentse presents compact yet oddly comical and far-reaching repertoires of libraries displaced as mazes, art galleries, plinths, tombs or ruins. One thinks of John Soane indirectly depicting his own grand architectural conceits as future ruins, as the Modern become “Classical” almost in advance of itself. [3] The utopia of the library has become the dystopia of cultural ruin, decline, desecration, an imagined future in which knowledge is left to decay, crumble and collapse. The paradox of Mitrentse’s project is that it is both a sign of dissipation, of the loss of knowledge and the means for its transmission, and a conscious recouping or preservation of the culture of the book. At a moment when established institutions of learning are, in England and beyond ,in crisis, with universities simultaneously charging highly increased student fees whilst purporting to democratise access to education, Mitrentse focuses not so much on this ostensible cultural expansion as upon notions of the alternative, the marginal and the secret school or anti-institution. Her large drawings of accumulated books are sourced via a request that any individual from the artworld who so wishes suggests a book for inclusion within a given work. These book proposals then become the literal building blocks of the structures within the drawings, a library the contents of which have been determined by its imaginary users, and not by those in power who would seek to constrict and contain the culture of the book.

Notes 1. George Steiner, Extraterritorial, Peregrine, 1975, p. 166.  2. [Stephane] Mallarme, The Poems, Penguin, 1977, p. 49.3.On Soane commissioning paintings from Joseph Gandy showing the former’s architectural works in ruins see Christopher Woodward, In Ruins, Chatto & Windus,2001,chapter VIII.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The books are dead. Long live the books

By Areti Leopoulou | Art Historian Curator CACT 

 

The history of the book could be the history of civilization. But while proclaiming the death of books[1], who would dare claim at the same time the death of culture or civilization?  When the printed book becomes a monument to bygone eras, a piece of the past, how can it be approached as a cultural product? As technology transforms the book from a material object to a digital one, libraries (books’ holy places) are gradually replaced by the internet, a real place, yet intangible. And consequently, Modern Western thinking, which ideally gives little value to the material world and its products, appears to be justified[2]. And after that? This “after” is already visible: new structures come up, as well as new cognitive patterns and new buildings are built regarding the book.
Christina Mitrentse gives her own interpretation to this transition; the most interesting aspect of her ongoing project is the methodology that interprets and then represents the issues mentioned above. Her work as a whole is a brilliant conceptual, almost epistemological approach to those issues, based on the following principles: • organizing information/books of interest critically, as well as analytically. • using, as her main medium, painting (whose “death” and “resurrection” have been proclaimed several times in the history of art, exactly like it is now happening with the book). • approaching individual pictorial elements from utopias or dystopias of the past and the future, and finally • accumulating and archiving information/books based on the methodology of libraries and museums, Mitrentse is eventually ultimately building  an heterotopia of her own, As a result, she initiates a kind of post-museum for books that are symbolically “disabled” or “dead”. 
This concept has a strong theoretical and methodological infrastructure: emblems, ancient monuments and plinths, cultural or historical symbols, the internet, as well as the background of other artists (i.e British conceptual artist John Latham). All are connected in the post-museum that Mitrentse has been building for years. In this way, she brings these books back to life and by recommending a new type of currency or Logos (Greek), proposes an alternative contemporary knowledge. Even if the death of books or other cultural products is perennially announced, even if access to information has become equal to absorbed information, what still remains a need is knowledge. And knowledge never dies. We should thank Christina Mitrentse for making this clear to us in her own unique way.

[1] An issue that the science off the History of the Book is researching and dealing with (e.g. Daniel Traister, article «On dead books», link: http://www.hss.ed.ac.uk/chb/chbn2002_5.htm)

[2] Susan M. Pearce, ?useums, Objects and Collections, Leicester University Press, 1992 (p. 36 on the Greek translated edition)

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bibliofile

By Michael Hampton | Arts Writer  Art Monthly / Frieze 

For the Greek born, London based artist Christina Mitrentse, the activity of drawing is far more than a means of illusory representation. It serves her heterotopic practice as a tool for critical enquiry, for mapping space and ultimately the construction of discrete worlds. In this multiverse fashioned from draughtsmanship, ‘vintage’ artists’ bookmaking, silk-screen prints, sculpture and site specific installation, drawing functions as a supermetaphor twisting its way through her work, constantly opening up visual possibilities. This privileging of drawing fits into its wider resurgence, that since the San Francisco punk phenomenon of the 80s, and recent Goldsmithian endorsement, has seen it get a facelift, no longer a mere preparation for something bigger, but in Mitrentse’s case an autonomous art form, hand-held, a powerfully inclusive technique.

The new series of large scale works in Add To My Library Volume II e.g. ‘Stonehenge’, ‘WWW’, ‘New Tate’, ‘Emblem’ and ‘Ruins I’ all confirm Joseph Beuys’s proposition that drawing is “a special kind of thought”, and in this instance one where historicity is compressed, and its iconic edifices are left hanging. Mitrentse begins and ends with neo-Gothic images of a ruin. A highly charged species of conceptual drawing that avoids visceral gesture, being primarily intended to make the viewer ponder their ‘text’ of civilisation in crisis. She has also stressed an Interest in how “time can be captured/or represented by just the use of grey scale that comes from pencil and graphite” and reconstructing time through “the imagery of blocks- i.e. heritage, monuments, institutions” etc.What Mitrentse calls “shifting touch” is facilitated through smashing colour pastel into powder, smudginess itself becoming a symbolic overlay of the new, or in this context bibliographic input from international contributors, i.e. artists, writers, curators, museologists, each adding to the construction of an infinite library.

Thus in ‘Stonehenge’ (2010), the iconic example of architectural heritage in the UK, the site is rendered in a non-empirical way, and a manner that causes both nostalgia and alienation. The temenos glows with accumulated knowledge embodied in the book as a source of wisdom. In ‘WWW’ (2010) the uber logo is built up from novels and cutting-edge journalism, a paradoxical statement about the lingering power of the book in the Internet age, while the bibliographic levelling out of chimney at ‘New Tate’ (2011) is dialectically related to the Skoob towers of renowned British artist John Latham.Mitrentse informs us “ in an attempt to visually interrogate the expressionistic concrete edifice of the new Tate Modern”, and after Walter Benjamin show that the “picture becomes now a metaphor of digital reproduction over the mechanical, in the repeated form of the Penguin book”. The reading matter in ‘Ruin I’ (2011) is shown at the point of disintegration. Loosely based on James D. Griffion’s photographs of the Detroit Public Schools Book Depository, and Fahrenheit 451 ,1953 dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury, this decaying information dump signals one possible ‘end’ for the institution. High and low culture cease to differ. Rot rules. History becomes a list of legendary titles, a delirium.

So, for Mitrentse as new data from contributors is gathered, the exercise of adding to and activating her library intensifies, the paper surface a locus not only to remix the ‘catalogue’ but also alter the pictorial space of the library. In this way monumentality is micromanaged. Each drawing might function as domestic ‘shelving’, the traces of an attempted re-drawing of the cultural institution, Tate Modern’s smokeless chimney become a ziggurat of ISBNs.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Top