Poussin 1 : 1 | bookmark

A bookmark, typografical artwork, limited edition, offset print
Each unit: 7 x 30 cm
Photo © Athina Ioannou


Athina Ioannous’ pictures are confusingly simple; they are plunged into nothing but oil, which, by drying up, is penetrating the reticulated tissue. But tissue and textile do not serve as sustainers, making other textiles and veils visible; they do not indicate anything, they represent nothing. These pictures embody the equal value of canvas, textile and surface. A seemingly paradoxical state of facts, as far as it is obviously, that both of them, sustainers and ground, enter a claim for the pictures surface.

The last process of painting might be the first one. The pictures uppermost coat, that one, which is painted at the very last, is neither smooth nor level, nor monotonous; it is shining, is full of marks, imprints, impressions, scintillating and simple. Black vertical strokes of graphite are entered into it, traversing every painting from top to bottom. Every stroke is an isolated case, similar to each other, but always deviating. There is no repetition, but an accumulation of singular cases. The strokes are running through both sides of the textile, which has been turned again and again, converting bottom to front and vice versa. As if it were a matter of touching the sustainers, ere any form comes into being or even a single tone is coated, they accompany, like a tattoo is attending the skin, as gloomy insignia the growing of the pictures. Running vertically through the textile and from its left to its right, they reconnoitre and support its oil-soaked tissue. With these strokes the act of drawing leaves as a residue its fragile inscription on the picture. Appearing timeless and without any beginning or ending, this inscriptiondoes not lead to any point and will never come to any destination. There is no point of ending, not even any sections. The singular case articulates itself within this inscription as a not reducible, unrepeatable but simple and continuous gesture.

Athina Ioannous work Poussin 1:1 starts from these pictures. The artist utilises one detail, cuts it into three stripes, transforms it thus into a bookmark and equips with a thousand fold reproduction the monographs of a library and an art-bookshop.On its back, every stripe bears the artists name, the title of the work and a letter: a, b or c. Every book gets one strip and every strip, accordingly to the size of the book, peers out of it with some centimetres. If one takes a single book and opens it at the respective page, the presumption suggests itself, that someone might have wanted to remember a passage by marking the page; but if one puts the book back to its place and examines the plenty of existing marks, which seem to give rhythm to the whole shelf, it is the impression of methodical proceedings, the impression of a structuring order regarding the multiplicity of single books. Here we can realise, that Poussin 1:1 is less a personal notice or a simple extra for the reader / buyer of the book than rather the artists precise intervention regarding the running of culture, which operates through the book as its medium.

The monograph of an artist is the individual presentation of his work and its history. It supplies extensive nformation. The collections of single monographs, as we can find them in the shelves of a library or an art-bookshop, might also be regarded as an installation, as authorities and documentation of the current cultural information. As exhibited goods, filling up entire walls, they reflect the memory and knowledge of a society, which reproduces itself through medial operations.

In the book, as a loose, more or less floating mark, Poussin 1:1 oscillates between text and picture. From book to book. One might find a sign between pictures from Jackson Pollock, or drawings of an artist, who one might not know, or a mark indicating a picture of Barnet Newmann. To the, so to speak, extensive pretension of artmediating institutions, which claim to collect the immense panorama of artistic production, to string it and to make it available, Poussin 1:1 is like a vertically intervening comb. Not occupying a single place, this work unfolds its netting by opening up different and incidental places. It gives rise to invisible connections, generates combinations and transforms books of different places to objects of intermediary.

Through a simple addition, outwardly a harmless book-mark, which bears a partial view of her pictures, Athina Ioannou interfere exactly in the most vulnerable moment of intermediary process: the moment of distribution.

Without hiding herself, she opens at this point a window through which Poussin 1:1, with its wild, alchemistical combinatory, brings, from a point beyond their presentation, newly together the monographs’ pictures and texts. And she invites the beholder to participate, when he reaches for a book.

Bernd Ruzicska

English translation, Christian Ruzicska


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