“Mimesis produces mere ‘phantoms’, not real things. It is at once dependent and deluded, just as a mirror is empty and inessential without something to reflect.”
__ Matthew Potolsky
The outcome of a year long dialogue between two artists Amelia Critchlow and Evy Jokhova, ‘Mimesis' – from Greek mimos imitator or actor, source of mimeis – to imitate, features work that contemplates interior social order as inherited, transitional, neutral, challengeable, idealised and inevitable. Housed in the Westminster Arts Reference Library the exhibition operates within a palpable impasse between an absorbing narrative of books and generations of stored knowledge and the ordered, timeless quality of a public library. The works in this exhibition look to architecture, image and display to create a Gesamtkunstwerk of virtual worlds that reflect the world of the viewer whilst being subtly subverted.
Approaching ‘mimicry’ as a visual metaphor for a greater society, the artists invite the viewers and participants to engage with ideas of social consciousness, placement and perception, through an immersive installation that collages images, paintings and objects, drawing on their similarities and visual etymology. Highlighting historical constants that have remained parallel and unchanged from pre-Antiquity to the modern day Critchlow and Jokhova open up a conversation on the hierarchy of space and (self) image, from domestic to social and public.
‘Mimesis’ explores how image and architectural form influence the way we read our world, how cognition can cloud and clarify, how association can attack an image or experience, or stand apart, apparently neutral and transparent. Image and form are presented here as relational things; they involve an interaction as the viewer is invited into a space of direct associations where familiar objects can be openly questioned.
Critchlow’s work utilizes pre-existing images (and text) from the public domain that simultaneously references the lofty canon of recorded history within a library setting, whilst opening a dialogue about unrecorded histories and narratives. “To be is to be perceived” George Berkely; Critchlow’s collages borrow from a bank of familiar imagery which often alludes to idealized, ‘popular’ and mediated worlds, and through a process of erasing, scalpelling, cutting and pasting these works take on, and embody, new mimetic narratives and identities - eerily familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. Exhibiting in close proximity to the National Gallery Critchlow has developed a new series of postcard works (started in 2013), and here, along with other works, public and private, historical and contemporary blend in a bid to question where and how “to be” is both created and perceived, relating to Critchlow’s ongoing engagement with, and questioning of, the methodology of authorship, ownership and control and its impact on social identity.
Jokhova’s multi disciplinary practice engages with dialogue and relationships between Social anthropology, Architecture, Philosophy and Art. Working with drawing, painting, installation, photography, film, participatory events and artist books, Jokhova aims to bridge gaps between these fields and their inherent hierarchical structures creating work in the expanded context of interdisciplinary research projects. For ‘Mimesis’ Jokhova sets the scene of a waiting room complete with furniture for a lobby, corporate heraldry in the form of a painting that doubles up as a flag, sculptural of ambiguous materiality mimicking a totem pole adorned with a TV screen and a triptych comprised of a print, oil painting and light box with a hint towards the proliferation of media containing the idealized female across decades of society. Jokhova’s site specific installation is a space for audiences to navigate as well as a platform for presenting some of Critchlow’s work and relating back to the artist’s methodology as part of their collaboration.
This exhibition is accompanied by a publication ‘Mimesis’, co written by Critchlow and Jokhova, with a commissioned text by Becky Huff Hunter.
 Potolsky, M., Mimesis, The New Critical Idiom, Routledge, New York & London, 2006, p. 27 (Plato, 1991: 279).