detail views of CAVE, Dec. 2013-Jan.2014
transformer, Washington DC
Another source of inspiration has come from working in a photography archive, where I've been exposed to the fieldwork documentation created during the mosaic conservation campaigns that took place during the 1930s through the 1960s in Istanbul at Byzantine-era churches, where the figural mosaics were covered and concealed by plaster when the churches were converted into mosques during the Ottoman conquest. The act of covering the mosaics had a practical use at the time; the layering has a history and significance of its own.
The conservation campaigns involved the locating, uncovering, cleaning, repair, and preservation of the existing mosaics. The act of pulling back layers, exposing, excavating, and revealing remnants of past creations has inspired the physical basis of my installation, where I am actively covering, layering over, and obscuring what is beneath, doing the exact opposite of the aforementioned fieldwork. I don't mean to deface or misrepresent the imagery I am covering, but rather suggest that the representations we are so used to seeing, and that are prescribed to us by cultural institutions, can never fully or accurately describe or reflect our existence and experiences as individuals, or even our understanding and embracing of art.
This installation is not an act of irreverence, but rather a celebration of the continuous searching and digging into the past (peeling back the layers) to discover, illuminate, and reclaim what has been lost to the past, or forgotten – my own small protest against the ignorance, manipulation of information, cultural barbarism, and memoricide that still thrives in the world.
Many thanks to transformer for giving me this opportunity, and to staff Julia, Stephanie, and Mandy for lending a huge hand in realizing CAVE.