Water and the impact on human nature caused by its paucity were on Hera Büyüktaşçıyan’s mind when she traveled to Jerusalem in 2014. From a roof in the Christian quarter, she spied a football-field-sized empty lot that her research revealed was once the Roman-era Hezekiah’s Pool, a reservoir left to dry up in recent centuries amid a long-running dispute over its ownership. The area is locked, and those living along its edges have no access.
The Recovery of an Early Water in the Jerusalem Show VII would be just a swathe of blue cloth draped over wooden trestles, but its setting loaded the work with political and historical weight as it retrieved long-suppressed memories to the surface. “As I set up the installation, people from the surrounding houses streamed in, kids began to play, mothers came to chat, as if they were all gathering along a river’s edge.” Büyüktaşçıyan said. “Even when water is merely imagined, it has the power to remove barriers.” The same is true for art.