Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Tales of Books and Art

Ekaterina Panikanova’s fantastic three-dimensional artworks on books blur the lines between painting, installation and collage, while taking viewers down memory lane on a journey into childhood.

Let us go down memory lane and back to our childhood, to times of innocence and joy, to tales filled with fantastic characters and magic stories. Let us take our old storybooks and revisit them, feel their unmistakable smell, fall again under their irresistible spell.

Ekaterina Panikanova, born in St. Petersburg in 1975 and presently based in Rome, invites us to do just that with her art. She creates highly original, densely layered paintings across large spreads of old books, school magazines, posters from different times and other such materials which she finds in flea markets.

“I like working on old books: I like the way the wear and tear;  underlinings, notes and scribblings enable me to perceive the personalities of the people who have read them. In Russia, there is a difference between an icon which has been ‘prayed to’ and one which has not; a book which has been read has the same kind of energy as an icon which has been worshiped”, Panikanova says.

Using grids of books and other documents as her canvas, the artist dives into the world of childhood in an effort to understand the deepest and most intimate feelings of the human being. For each of her works, Ekaterina Panikanova reads the texts she is going to use as canvas, so as to create pieces that, together with her paintings on them, may express a collective idea.

On the other hand, the specific way according to which Panikanova organises and arranges her medium (old books, notebooks and prints) into irregular grids is a further invitation to the imagination of viewers, since the surfaces thus obtained somehow look like giant puzzles waiting for onlookers to make sense out of them.  The outcome is always stunning three-dimensional artworks which blur the lines between painting, installation and collage.

Ekaterina Panikanova’s themes depict fascinating objects which, in fact, evoke long-forgotten childhood memories and life experiences, thereby triggering emotions, impressions and moods by means of small but deeply expressive details and inviting viewers to venture into a journey back in time.

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