Marina Kassianidou has been working on the series of works Dotted Lines since 2010 when she was in residency at the Ragdale Foundation in Illinois. It has since flourished into hundreds of collages around this idea of dots and lines that she has with such fastidiousness immersed herself in, reaching another level of concentration and consciousness, performing contractions of the self, and conceptualising surface and space in their co-making.
These collages are exactly collages by means of the artist’s mode of treatment and involvement with lined writing paper. The lines themselves on the white paper make for a first choice, possibly, since they are, de facto, an “addition” to a surface, or a marked space. They come with a type of inclusion you might not pay attention to, and Marina Kassianidou, honouring this presence further, uses a hole puncher and glue to make out of the same type of white paper these faint, nuanced variations in marks, traces, deeper inclusions, features, which call for a special attentiveness to be discerned. The adoption of a run-of-the-mill type of mass-produced pad is a gesture itself, an invitation to pay attention to surface and its layers, to the multifarious allusions of lines, spatial divides, internal borders, social binaries, but also zones of horizontal coexistence. White on white: an alienating encounter, an exercise in being with space, a confrontation with (self)reflection?
Site-responsive, the two-dimensional collages embody the encompassing three-dimensional space, its marks, its margins, its influence, in ways which consider its agency, allowing it to open up, like pages unfolding, while the collages’ layers attract us into a conceptual space in which to approach the overall work. Meanwhile, between the two spaces, a levelling out of their relationship occurs.
Marina Kassianidou, with astute delicateness and dedication, works with material that surrounds her settings and that can be accessed. From furnishing fabrics to vinyl flooring, from walls and floors to lined writing paper, a “staple in my backpack since school days”, an addendum to her body, if you will, these are essential aspects of her artwork, manners in which to be with them, as the marking process lends a continuation of that space into another, a network of surfaces crossing into belts of co-making.
Marking, for Marina Kassianidou, is not an action/intervention that happens on the wall, floor(ing), fabric, as if the mark and surface were distinguishable. The artist crawls into her surrounding surface, entering an “exercise in exhaustion”, as she calls it, of undoing and doing, redoing and undoing, once again, trying to find all possible ways of “recreating and disrupting the printed lines”, in the process rendering new lines until exhausting the surface and herself. This con-fusion between the issue of surface and mark raises existing questions to do with artistic authorship and hierarchies of agency, addressed here in page intentionally left blank.
Text by Maria Petrides