Mindfields, Acrylics, collage, photograph on paper, 60 x 80 cm

Mindfields,
Acrylics, collage, photograph on paper,
60 x 80 cm

The recent works of Katerina Mertzani evoke oblivion and memory’s fragments, as suggested by the pun in the exhibition’s title, unreMEMBERed . They indirectly document the long and arduous manual process of their coming into being, one comprised of successive destructions, rebirths and continuous revisions.

UnreMEMBERed 1-8 8Α4, Acrylics, collage, photograph on paper, 60 x 84 cm

UnreMEMBERed 1-8 8Α4,
Acrylics, collage, photograph on paper,
60 x 84 cm

The fragment, a structural and conceptual element, is used to explore the present field and is simultaneously a reminder of finite time. The artist conscientiously collects images and engravings from old books and magazines, photographs, newspapers, stained paper towels which she washes and irons, fancy wrapping papers, small pieces of fabric, lace, tufts of hair, finds from nature and other disparate bits and ends. Miniscule snippets of reality and her personal surrounds which carry the allure of the trivial and insignificant. In her prima materia she also includes works of her own which she breaks up to transform fragments of a lived artistic experience into aspects of new compositions, infusing them with new conceptual ramifications.

UnreMEMBERed, Acrylics, collage, photograph on paper, 30 x 21 cm

UnreMEMBERed,
Acrylics, collage, photograph on paper,
30 x 21 cm

In the series of collages by the same name as the exhibition, reused parts of her abstract works, in shiny metallic colors, cohabit with torn up photographs and printed images, recognizable only in part. The compositions hover anarchically on a rosy plane and are defined by the minimal use of a sparse line that sometimes links the layered elements and at others extends them in the mind’s eye, arousing free associations on the part of the viewer.

unremembering memory, Acrylics, collage, photograph on paper, 80 x 70 cm

unremembering memory,
Acrylics, collage, photograph on paper,
80 x 70 cm

In the section “Unremembering memory” the protagonists are yellowed sheets of writing paper which Mertzani located in large quantities in an uncle’s house. With those, she creates distinctive fragile constructs of an irregular shape, coded diaries of a broken-up memory. The old sheets, with time’s wear visible on them, build a backdrop and simultaneously foreground the sculptural quality of the pieces. They are shred spontaneously by hand or with sewing scissors into tiny pieces, are crinkled, folded, unfolded, re-crinkled and re-torn before eventually being pasted on the works along with the other materials. They create forms, bulks, folds, gaps, in a succession of palimpsest surfaces. Handwritten notes, slashes of paint, abstract gestures, color imprints, gold dust and other shimmering traces complete the chaotic microcosms that operate as cartographies of human existence.

unremembering memory 2, Acrylics, collage, photograph on paper, 80 x 65 cm

unremembering memory 2,
Acrylics, collage, photograph on paper,
80 x 65 cm

Mertzani fractures the easy narrative, as she fractures recycled matter. She conceals and discloses the engraved images – often landscapes or instances from the animal and plant kingdom – with the folding and crinkling of the papers and the works’ diverse layering. She turns photographs and newspaper clippings upside down, thus further obstructing their reading. By dismissing anything descriptive and obvious, she aims at ambiguity as an indirect comment on the times’ characteristic loss of immutable meaning and values.

unremembering memory 3, Acrylics, collage, photograph on paper, 85 x 65 cm

unremembering memory 3,
Acrylics, collage, photograph on paper,
85 x 65 cm

In the collages “Psalm 1” and “Psalm 2”, the writing becomes legible: thoughts concerning the title of the exhibition and verses from the psalms of David, translated by Andreas Calvos. The poetic fragments – insinuations about human loneliness and the need for inner peace – converse with images that come about as if at random yet, always, through a plethora of heterogeneous elements. Their juxtaposition composes “secret” narratives, open to interpretation.

unremembering memory 4, Acrylics, collage, photograph on paper, 85 x 65 cm

unremembering memory 4,
Acrylics, collage, photograph on paper,
85 x 65 cm

Mertzani toys with the concept of illusion and the viewer’s vision. She accentuates the visual game between truth and untruth using special acrylic paints which change color as the viewer moves in space. She thus turns the viewer into an active recipient, simultaneously highlighting the concept of the ephemeral and the fluidity of the times.

unremembering memory 5, Acrylics, collage, photograph on paper, 80 x 65 cm

unremembering memory 5,
Acrylics, collage, photograph on paper,
80 x 65 cm

The esthetic mutation prevails in the paintings with their consecutive layers of matter, the rich and varied textures. Their intense shiny colors are on occasion cloyingly sweet, a reference to the esthetics of kitsch and the aggressive, capitalistic onslaught of the “ready-made”. Multicolored, shimmering mosaics, the paintings offer a bountiful feast to the eye. They host riddles and surprises, inviting the viewer to meander in their magical paths, mobilizing curiosity, the senses and the mind’s associations. An encrypted comment on human existence, society and our times, by means of works with a feminine tenderness and diffuse feeling, without lyrical/poetic upsurges.

Un-reminding, Acrylics on canvas, 180 x 220 cm

Un-reminding,
Acrylics on canvas,
180 x 220 cm

Rise, Acrylics, collage, fabric, photograph on paper, 50 x 65 cm

Rise,
Acrylics, collage, fabric, photograph on paper,
50 x 65 cm

Rejection, Acrylics, glass on canvas, 150 x 130 cm

Rejection,
Acrylics, glass on canvas,
150 x 130 cm

Τhe great patient, Convalescence, Acrylics, collage, photograph on wood, 51 x 54 cm

Τhe great patient, Convalescence,
Acrylics, collage, photograph on wood,
51 x 54 cm

Τhe great patient, Bandaging, Acrylics, collage on fabric, 45 x 22 cm

Τhe great patient, Bandaging,
Acrylics, collage on fabric,
45 x 22 cm

Psalm 1, Acrylics, collage on paper, 60 x 80 cm

Psalm 1,
Acrylics, collage on paper,
60 x 80 cm

Psalm 2, Acrylics, collage on paper, 60 x 80 cm

Psalm 2,
Acrylics, collage on paper,
60 x 80 cm

Psalm 3, Acrylics, collage on paper, 60 x 80 cm

Psalm 3,
Acrylics, collage on paper,
60 x 80 cm