Since the village is small, you can see more of the world from it
The hero of the book A Man Asleep, by George Perec, one day decides not to do anything anymore. He quits his studies, friends, his entire life thus far, and withdraws from the world. He remains in a small room in the attic, which from now on will determine the horizon of his mind and being. There, he found his desert island, where he leads a modest life, especially when it comes to how much external stimuli he allows near him. Anita Mikas decided to find more of them on the geographical map of the world.
In the guide prepared by her, she endows the vagrant – who is tormented by the hubbub of civilization – above all, with practical knowledge: how to reach the island and how to prepare for this trip. This brave new world is at your fingertips - encourages the artist. However, in being put to the test, participants must not only give up everyday conveniences, but also social ties. Here, the diminution of needs and desires is the sine qua non of happiness, which is to know yourself and to live in harmony with nature. And pragmatically, it’s all about having just enough food and a roof over your head.
The paintings in the exhibition portraying images of the islands are painted by the artist with great affection: both the affection of a painter’s brush stroke, getting lost in the mantric application of paint onto a canvas, but also the yearning for unspoilt nature and dreaming of escaping from society. The sensual, light, not to mention aerial character of this depiction resonates through Mikas’ economical form and delicate style. This character encompasses a spectrum of emotions accompanying dreams of El Dorado - from sorrow, resentment, and flooding states of melancholy, to uncertainty, fears, but also the excitement of anticipating the bliss of fulfillment.
Cosmography, according to Mikas, resonates primarily in the juxtaposition of scales. It describes the world through the prism of a single human existence, which is placed in a broad geographical, cultural and social, philosophical, or even cosmological perspective and at the same time defines this entire perspective. In the Guide, the artist weaves together not only the delicate images with raw descriptions, but also a large format map of uninhabited islands with the representation of the world reduced to the model of the room in which Perec’s hero lived.