Nina Rodin>2018> Inventory of Marks from Artists and their studios





Inventory of marks from artists and their studios

date > February 2018
media > archival giclée print, acetate, pins
size > dimensions variable, site-specific. Approximately 2,500 elements


> More than 2000 macrophotographic samples presented as microscope slides. Some are marks from the finished works of artists, others are found marks from their studios. They are sampled from 7 London Art colleges, from the many of the 120 residents that have passed through the Trélex Residencies and from Nina Rodin’s own work of the last decade.

> This work is an extension of “ 2023 Samples of marks from the University of the Arts, London” (link) started in 2010 which consisted exclusively of marks sampled from 7 art colleges from the University of the Arts London and as such was also a portrait of an institution. It has been extended with the addition of marks from the studio of the Trélex Residency, where by 2018, I have welcome more than 120 artists to work with me in my studio. I sampled both marks from their works and from the studio in which we worked together. Many artists sent in macro-photographs they had taken from their own work, mostly using their smartphones. In this respect, this work has become much more of a collaborative effort, involving the interest and goodwill of nearly 100 artists, for which I thank them. It has also become more than the portrait of an institution: for me it is a portrait and a critique of the state of play for contemporary painters.

> The work now also contains a large number of works from my own practice which has evolved since the initial project to be more and more consciously borrowing from the marks of artists before me. Indeed one of the initial motivations for this archive and the book that followed (see related works below) is the sense that after hundreds of years or more of history of painting, there is an increasing sense of ‘déjà vu’ as to the types of marks the painters of today make in forming new images. Most of my work as a painters is now consciously borrowed or appropriated from this growing archive, including a repetition of my own marks.

> The distribution - different for every installation of this work - is what I term a natural distribution. It is perhaps similar to stars in galaxies or particles in a cloud. Confusingly crowded in places, sparse and with plenty of space for more in others. I hope it is conceived as something of great beauty on the one hand and slightly sickening in the sheer quantity of elements, on the other.

> The individual elements are designed to look like microscope slides and have the name of the artist or the place where the mark was found, the year and a catalogue number for the photograph.

> A part of the installation of the show “Categories of near-infinite permutations” where the work was shown in 2018 for the first time:


> The installation seen from outside:


> Link to full show documentation:


> Related work: