Editor: Tina Pandi
Text: Claire Gilman, Tina Pandi
Number of pages: 96
Language: Greek / English
Dimensions: 22 x 16.5 cm
Publication year: 2011
Available for sale: 25 €
[…] In 1987, the philosopher Vilèm Flusser, in his Does Writing Have a Future?, questioning the future of writing in our contemporary era where technical images dominate, recognized the necessity of writing for those who “their being is expressed in, and only in, the gesture of writing” (1). During approximately the past decade, Nina Papaconstantinou’s artistic creation has been incorporating the feverish act of writing – from its most primeval forms to its most modern ones – to the process of drawing as a necessary existential condition of sorts. Without constituting a grammatological or literary study, her artistic pursuit is persistently fermented through words, literature and language. In the artist’s oneiric and refined universe, books are the raw material for the creation of her own visual language.
The work of Nina Papaconstantinou, who has studied literature and drawing, turns to the material of language itself, investigating the relationships between image and text, writing, trace and texture, as these are transformed and configured through the lines of the texts that she appropriates from various aspects of literature. The artist gathers the scribe’s tools – such as, for instance, pencil, ink, blank paper, books, and carbon paper – to subject the, handwritten or printed, text to a continuous translation process, from its manual, painstaking editing to its digital or mechanical reproduction. The extensive transformations of the body of texts, which she attempts through the practice of drawing, by copying, tracing, inscribing, piercing, enlarging, scattering and assembling texts, and manipulating illustrations from fairy tales and short stories, are suggestive of her reflections on narrative and fiction, communication and its concealment, trace and gesture, time and memory, language and, through it, imagery.
The exhibition Instead of writing constitutes the largest presentation of Nina Papaconstantinou’s work to date, assembling for the first time a significant part of her work, created from 2001 to this day. The unfolding of works in space creates an open-ended narrative, a diffuse, fluid textual tissue with no beginning or end, in which stories, fairy tales and fables, private, secret confessions and personal testimonies, and illustrations of short stories and other texts interweave and penetrate one another. Among the enigmatic heroes who inhabit Papaconstantinou’s work we find real and fictional characters, such as Hansel and Gretel, Justine, the boy who went forth to learn fear, Marquis de Sade, the town musicians of Bremen, Dante, Anne Frank, Aris Alexakis, Count Monte Cristo, Sylvia Plath, Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Robinson Crusoe, Eugene O’Neill, Virginia Woolf, Angela Carter, and the artist herself. […]
1. Vilèm Flusser, Does Writing Have a Future?, translated by Nancy Ann Roth, Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press (Electronic Mediations, vol. 33), 2011, p. 4.