ATML Volumes

CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUMS  | A series of drawings and mixed media works , representing books as building blocks of Architectural structures / Museums & Art Centres from all over the world . These have been produced as part of  Add To My Library on-going international project Volumes  (ATML Vol. I , II , III ). 


Palai de Tokyo-Paris  | drawing on paper, 150x120cm courtesy the artist


WIELS CCA -BRUSSELS  | pencil, graphite, gold pastel on 400gsm paper, 150x120cm courtesy the artist

Acropolis_museum web_mitrentse

NEW ACROPOLIS MUSEUM |  graphite, colour pencils on 310gsm archival paper, 50x70cm  | ATML.Vol.III  



 Berlinische Galerie Und Kreuzberg II  | drawing & collage on paper, 50x70cm | Courtesy the Artist


MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art-KraKow  | drawing on paper and collage,  50x70cm | ATML Vol.III  | Courtesy the Artist


MACBA-Barcelona |  drawing & collage on paper, 50x70cm  | ATML.Vol.III | courtesy the artist


National Portrait Gallery Candella -Australia  | drawing & collage on paper,50x70cm | #ATML.Vol.III  |Courtesy the Artist 


Nerman Museum Contemporary Art |  drawing on paper 50x70cm | ATML.vol.III | Courtesy the artist


Contemporary Art Museum Zagreb | drawing on 300gsm paper, 50x70cm | ATML.VoL.III | courtesy the artist

New Tate Modern mitrentse web

The New Tate Modern |  drawing & collage on paper, 50x70cm | ATML Vol.III  | courtesy the artist


Museum Tel-Aviv |  pencils & collage on paper, 50x70cm | ATML.Vol.III | Courtesy The Artist

New Museum NY web mitrentse

NEW MUSEUM NY | graphite & gold ink on paper, 50x70cm | ATML vol.III  | 

Budda museum web mitrentse

BuDDa Temple  |  drawing on paper, 50x70cm | ATML.vol.III | 

Buddist tembel web mitrentse

Bing Wind Goose Pagoda- China | colour pencil & graphite on paper, 50x70cm | ATML.Vol.III |


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







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:

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



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.


©mitrentse 2017 all rights reserved.  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.