Artist Focus: Mariana Bisti - Winner of the 2016 DWMA People's Choice Prize
Mariana Bisti was the winner of the 2016 Danny Wilson Memorial Award People's Choice Prize for her body of work Postcards From Athens .The prize was voted for by the general public. She was also shortlisted for the OPEN16 solo.
Postcards from Athens is the result of documenting the transformation of the city during the Greek Crisis. It is based on a big archive of b/w photos shot with a mobile phone in the Greek capital within the last 6 years. They depict broken people in a broken city, emphasising on the marks that the crisis has inflicted on their bodies.
In 2016 a selection of 45 photos was printed in a self-designed postcard format. A few months later the work was presented as a handmade self-publication at The Small Press Project event; exhibition at IAS, UCL. Since then the publication is being sold in order to support its ongoing production whereas the postcards are distributed individually or in small batches - without permission - in galleries and museum shops, allowing visitors to take them for free (i.e. the Photographer’s Gallery, Tate Modern, Whitechapel Gallery in London etc)
Apart from paying tribute to the anonymous and invisible antiheroes of Athens, the work attempts to comment on mobile photography - implying that ‘the message is the message’, not the medium - as well as the pointless constant concern about the over-democratisation of photography. In addition, it aims to stress a political point regarding the photographs themselves as a form of art in the context of their industry : it is a comment on the common; gallery laws; and what the ‘establishment’ and art world define as a ‘photograph’ : a large format image, of great definition and high resolution, hanging in an expensive UV and anti-glare frame.
Born in Greece, 1981, lives and works between London and Athens.
Mariana Bisti studied Building Restoration at the Technological Educational Institute of Patras, Greece. In 2005, after her graduation, she started an ongoing collaboration with NC-MP Architects. In 2008 she ranked first at the NTUA School of Architecture admission exams where she completed her BA/MSc in Architectural Engineering in 2012.
She has been working as a professional photographer since 2008. After her second Degree, she specialized in Architectural Photography. In 2013 she was commissioned as a photographer & cinematographer by the Piraeus Port Authority S.A. (Feb -April) and the Athens Biennale 'AGORA' (August-December). A year later (2014) she worked for the 'ArtAthina' International Contemporary Art Fair of Athens.
The same year she moved to London to pursue a MFA in Fine Art Media at the Slade School of Fine Art, where she earned her degree with distinction (2016). Her art practice ranges across different media, including video, photography, performance and installation. It can be described as an exploration of the contours of meaning and identities, through the processes of their equivocal formations and contingent representations.
Traces, marks, manifestations of temporal presence are recorded and manipulated in an attempt to investigate the ubiquitous absence of certainty in our contemporary world. Implications of political and social issues are juxtaposed with solid forms and concrete spatial references, informing each other of the current human condition and its contextual ambiguities.