Nina Papaconstantinou
Bookcase (Paul Eluard, Poèmes), 2011

Carbon copy ink on paper
40 × 30 cm

To create Bookcase (Paul Eluard, Poèmes), Papaconstantinou copied in multiple layers on blue carbon paper, word for word, an entire literary text, so that the final drawing produced is an imprint of the carbon paper on the surface of the paper. In these drawn palimpsests, the successive, repeated writings accumulate on a unified surface. (…) Each new layer of text refutes itself during the moment of its writing, since it is abolished by the next one that will follow, in a Sisyphean, laborious attempt to reproduce the text. (…) Papaconstantinou realized, following Walter Benjamin’s discovery, (…) that “of all the ways of acquiring books, writing them myself is regarded as the most praiseworthy method”; books, as she describes, “are written from the mind to the hand”, so that she can appropriate them and make them her own.

Excerpt (slightly edited) from Tina Pandi’s “Instead of Writing” taken from In Present Tense, published by the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece.