22 Feb – 30 Mar 2019
Observing the ways in which posterity is embedded in our cultural routines, how it manifests in notes on the back of photographs carefully wrapped in tissue, and so on. Anastasia Mina layers, magnifies, prints, embellishes and marks these elements into ambiguity. A method of personal historicising that explores her intuitive attraction to the particulars of figures within an image; having previously worked with found photographs, over the last year she has begun a study of her own families’ archives. Working over them with pencil and charcoal her process follows an internal logic resembling that of a checklist. As elements are fully ‘understood’ they disappear into obscurity. A complete inversions of knowledge production, Mina does not desire or imagine that it’s possible to reveal cultural truths buried within a snapshot; what she hides behind the opacity of her pencil marks, is her own truth.
Growing-up in Cyprus, a politicised geography over which the iconography of one group was often erased for the resurrection of another, understanding and erasing are mentally coupled. Simultaneously precious and pragmatic, religious and cultural symbols are therefore psychologically deconsecrated by their continuous destruction and regeneration. Mina believes that archival photographs are in this context an excuse to talk about cultural belonging. After re-printing the images, monumentalizing or minimizing their scale, she desecrates or fragments their surface, an act inseparable from her hereditary tenuousness with cultural objects. Mina’s works may be read first as an antithesis to preciousness, however her rapport with paper involves a deep respect. For works like Untitled VII, she digitally integrates the patterns on the material she found caring for the original image, into its composition of figures before re-printing it on 152 x 310 cm, Somerset enhanced paper. Conflating these two narratives, the event and its guardian, subtly comments on what gestures of care say about an object, as well as a society.
For Mina, images function as a material trigger of cultural sensibilities that she adopts or rejects throughout her process of deconstructing them. Her uncertainty about the actual context of these images within her own family history, lost with the memories of their subjects, allows her this immediate relationship with their content. By making choices about what to obscure, she endeavours to create her own cultural framework of interpretation, independent of her inherited perspective. A process she hopes causes an awareness within the viewer about decisions involved in perception, which make fixed meaning impossible.