Two hands lay outstretched on a narrow bench, palms facing up, as if in supplication, asking for alms. They were delicate, beautifully shaped; yet the palms and wrists appeared scorched and scarred, with leathery skin resembling a mummified crocodile hide. Their dark sheen was actually from bronze, and the “scars” were in fact the imprints of myriad tiny marble squares, forming a kind of tile-less mosaic.
This idea of imprinting is central to the work of Istanbul-based artist Hera Büyüktaşçıyan (b. 1984). Her second solo show at Green Art Gallery, “Write Injuries on Sand and Kindness in Marble,” drew on the space’s former life as a marble factory. In the show brochure and recent email correspondence, the artist says that places retain the stories of their past, the lives of all those who have inhabited or used them. Memories, geographies, and experiences are cumulatively embedded within the walls, much as pieces of old buildings are repurposed to create new ones in spolia architecture. Büyüktaşçıyan explores these historical traces through a notion she calls “aquamorphology,” which refers to water’s capacity to transform, over time, all that it touches.