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In her work, Hera Büyüktaşcıyan brings to light ways in which memory, identity, and knowledge are shaped by deeply ingrained yet constantly evolving waves of history. Büyüktaşcıyan often references local narratives, myths and theology thorugh space as well as specific architectural structures as the foundation for her works, closely observing their genealogies and the ways in which they shift and evolve over time in relation to ruptures of history.    

Nothing further beyond (2021) traces the layers of history that underlie a specific architectural ruin--the Arch of Theodosius, erected in A.D. 395 and now situated in Istanbul’s Beyazıt Square. The columns came to be known as “the weeping columns” for the teardrop-like pattern adorning them, however Büyüktaşcıyan later discovered that these shapes were actually meant to represent the club of the divine Greek demigod Hercules where he has used during his 12 missions to conquer the evil. The gate was founded by the emperor Theodosius to symbolically point to the Pillars of Hercules, which according to myth were installed by the demi-god in the far West to mark the end of the known world and guard it from sea monsters.  Inscribed with the Latin phrase “Nothing Further Beyond”, the Pillars drew the border of Western civilization, labelling everything further as the “Other” and the unknown as a potential threat which also resonates with the current power and architecture dynamics today.

In her sculptural installation, Büyüktaşcıyan emulates the profound compression of narratives present in the ruins and surface tensions hidden within each layer. By etching the teardrop pattern of the columns into industrial carpets, the artist draws out the formal ambiguity of the ornament, which is both reminiscent of reified/petrified persistence and of state power. Büyüktaşcıyan’s carpets resemble geological strata as well as undulating waves, suggesting a fluidity and softness to the artifacts in contrast to the solidity of its physical realm and its the historical background. With its material poetics, Nothing further beyond studies the tension between petrification and softness, as well as destruction and recreation.

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