Sylvia Plath: The lost journal

Nina Papaconstantinou


Drawing, 21 x 500 cm.
Materials: paper, black thread

Collection: National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (Inv. no. 609/08).

Papaconstantinou’s journal primarily conveys the attempt to make, often in a subversive vein, a private, secret confession that was meant to remain in the sphere of the private. The first work in this series is Sylvia Plath: The Missing Journal (2008), which is based on Sylvia Plath’s journals. The poetess begun to keep journals with an obsessive dedication in her childhood, continuing to do so until her death, and even argued that “It’s hopeless to ‘get life’ if you don’t keep notebooks”. The starting point for the production of this work by Papaconstantinou was the fact that after Plath’s suicide, one of her journals “disappeared” according to Ted Hughes, whο he also destroyed a second one, which was a record of her final days. Papaconstantinou rewrites with inkless pen passages from Sylvia Plath’s journals, so that only the relief imprint of the text is left on the paper. In an attempt to restore, to “repair” the cohesion of the narrative, the artist sews with black thread one page to another. The hidden relief text suggests the idea of a private confession, whose intensity and passion have been lost, leaving only its trace behind the lines on the white piece of paper.


Tina Pandi

Nina Papaconstantinou. Instead of writing, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, 2011

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