Under Erasure: Beneath the Unsettled Sky
Curated by Àngels Miralda
Garage Art Space, Nicosia
11 November - 2 December, 2023
Garage is pleased to present the first institutional solo exhibition of the artist Anastasia Mina (b. 1986, Cyprus). The exhibition presents several series of recent works as well as a new large-scale drawing titled The Sky Hasn’t Decided (2021-23). Mina’s work is recognisable by her fascination with mark making and imprints on personal images. These contain themes on familial connections, inherited memory, and the ways in which the personal adds complexity and emotion to national narratives. Her work is largely inspired by her grandmother’s photographic archive. Katerina Michael was born in Cyprus in 1929 and witness to the decades of hopes and fears, wars and liberations that have formed the troubled modernity of this island.
The subject of the main work is an image that depicts Mina’s mother and aunt along with a group of young people their same age during the 1970’s. The hand-drawn interventions on this large-scale piece obscure its legibility and add ambiguity to an already inaccessible scene. The work comments on the role of photography and memory through the positioning of the family album as a historical archive connected to the personal memory of generations. Images from decades ago can be decoded and offer mysteries for those who recognise the subjects, but offer a colder sociological and aesthetic voice for the main public. In this way, the group of young people standing together can at first appear to be a group of protestors standing firmly together side by side or it can be a group of friends posing for a photograph - proximity reveals itself to be a hinge that connects family and ideology through the individual composition and allegiance of groups.
The patterns drawn over the images refer to a practice of Mina’s grandmother that involves protecting images with any material she had at hand. These can be patterned papers and handkerchiefs placed between photographs to protect them, while also creating a transparent mask that adds an unintentional layer of imagery to the photograph. These abstractions go further than personal attachment, they are analogous to the loss of knowledge and understanding about complex events and the impossibility of accessing every lived truth.
The title Under Erasure is the English translation of the term sous rature developed by the philosopher Jacques Derrida to describe the impossibility of writing the lived experience. Photography, like writing, is insufficient, yet necessary to the world. Anastasia Mina translates this semantic dilemma into the realm of art through the relationship of the image to the construction of history.
A catalogue on the recent works of Anastasia Mina written by Àngels Miralda accompanies the exhibition.
The exhibition is dedicated to the loving memory of Helen Michael.
Àngels Miralda describes her curatorial practice as a secret politics of materiality with the belief that materials contain significance in themselves. The tools of an artist relate their work to the supply chains of industry and historical circumstances of the world. She has organised exhibitions at Radius CCA (Delft), Tallinn Art Hall (Estonia), MGLC - International Centre for Graphic Arts (Ljubljana), Galerija Miroslav Kraljevic (Zagreb), the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chile (Santiago), and the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (Riga). Miralda regularly publishes her writing for Critics’ Picks at Artforum (NYC), Terremoto (Mexico City), A*Desk (Barcelona), and is editor-in-chief at Collecteurs (NYC). She lives and works in Amsterdam and Barcelona.
Anastasia Mina is a visual artist whose practice investigates and interrogates historical and political images sourced in personal and press archives. She is interested in dismantling or disabling an image's content to redirect and reclaim its meaning. She works with print media, drawing, text, and installation to explore visual manifestations of identity - culturally specific, politically charged, coded and ambiguous. She holds an MA in Print (Royal College of Art, 2014) and a Diploma in Painting (Athens School of Fine Arts, 2010). She lives and works in London.