Paperwork: A Brief History of Artist's Scrapbooks
24 Jan -22 March 2013
Andrew Roth, New York
Unrolling in a continuous canvas stream, Aleksandra Mir’s scrapbook-scroll functions as an analog news-feed of sorts: along its twenty-five-foot length, Mir systematically glued every headline published in the mainstream British tabloid press during the London Olympics in July 2012. The popular press has featured in Mir’s work in the past: in Newsroom 1986–2000, a piece created in 2007, Mir and her assistants selected two hundred New York–based tabloid covers from a fifteen-year period, enlarging and loosely copying the text and graphics in felt-tip marker. In that work, Mir made “old news” new again through labor-intensive duplication and underscored the relative benignity of New York’s pre-9/11 headline-grabbing events.
Olympic Scrap-Scroll (Gold) is one of three Olympic scroll projects, including a Silver and a Bronze version, all equally rigorous and ambitious in scope. In each, Mir’s news clippings highlight British idioms (“Yorkshire puds let bruvs batter rivals”), personal woes (“My Olympic defeat hurt so much”), or national jubilation (“Gold! Gold! Gold!”)—creating a narrative chronicling the highs and lows, joys and triumphs, and even the logistical mundanities of London’s Olympic Games. The form of Mir’s “book”—the scroll—recalls the ancient Greek origins of the Olympic games, and reminds us that “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” have been with us for millennia.