by Cosima zu Knyphausen
A cento is a poem composed of verses or fragments from various literary texts that are collaged into a new one. The word comes from an ancient Latin term which means a blanket made of textile scraps.
This etymological root interweaves important aspects of Cosima zu Knyphausen’s practice: the materiality of a piece of cloth – the support of the paintings – with the process of quoting, paraphrasing and appropriating art historical motifs, in order to imagine an alternative canon that is shaped by lesbian desire.
Cento brings together a selection of paintings by Cosima zu Knyphausen from the last five years. Instead of following a chronological order, the works are presented in an intertextual reading that puts them in dialogue and show the range of interests that the artist has pursued in her versatile practice, such as her variations on the motif of ‘women reading’, Christine de Pizan’s medieval feminist utopia, the interior of a Berlin queer bar, and egg shell universes.
Accompanied by an essay by Rahel Schrohe, and a poem of the artist, the pages of Cento are overarching Cosima zu Knyphausen’s themes, as well as assembling the book itself as a context for the work: a mosaic, a patchwork garment, an egg.