After having photographed my assemblage in the studio, I was curious to see what the objects would look like in full sun. I packed them up and brought them up to the terrace outside my room where i set them up on the table and ledge outside my door. I enjoyed the way the silver shone in the sunlight, particularly the small korek stalk.
Later in the evening, I moved the table to a different location, added my chair, and rearranged the items, photographing them against the backdrop of the valley and town below as evening fell.
The next morning, since I had packed everything in bags for transport anyway, I decided to set off on my bicycle for the 450 year old Byzantine church in Kadikalesi. I loaded myself down with all the gear required for a small shrine to be erected in that ruin of a church, my backpack on the back and two bags full hanging from the handlebars and banging into the front wheel as I pedaled, the wind not being as congenial as the other day when I rode laden. As usual, there was no one in the church and no one seemed at all interested in what I was doing – all the Armonia Holiday Village and Spa guests were lying prone poolside.
I decided to use one of the two niches left sort of intact to the left of what would have been the altar. The remains of tea light candles could be seen in this niche, as well as the one next to it and another little hole in the south wall. Also, little piles of rocks testified to small campfires in the near or distant past. I set up my little assemblage, watched the small candle flames gutter and the crepe paper ribbons flutter in the breeze, then packed it all up again and rolled back down the hill to the beach at Kadikalesi.
The first set of pictures documents an assemblage set up against one of the large plate glass studio windows with the garden trees and town panorama in the distance. I was interested in seeing what the reflection of the objects in the two windows would look like as a counterpoint to the piece itself. As I looked at the reflection of the tableau in the mirrored surface behind, and the reflection of that reflection in the window opposite, I couldn’t help thinking about my old Greek friend Plato’s idea about art being three times removed from the “Throne of Truth”, merely a reflection of a reflection of the ideal in the mind of god. The second small set of four images represents a smaller piece, in which I have included several silver objects – skull, shallow dish, korek, tile – in homage to Gumusluk, the “silver place”.
The art studios here at the Gumusluk Academy are spacious and it’s wonderful to have room to spread my material out and to be able to leave it up over a period of days. This piece includes 13 photographic images of my Kas mannequin piece projected on the wall behind a still life assemblage. The assemblage itself includes a small foreground altar with the mannequin’s hands holding the same tri coloured crepe paper ribbons I used in earlier pieces. I like this kind of self-referentiality; it allows a thread of connection between past and present.
Tonight’s installation represents a further evolution on the theme I have been pursuing. Rather than using a triangular composition, I arranged the red flowers in their glasses in the shape of a circle, with candles in between each one. On the floor in front of the wooden table I set up a small altarpiece, with my mannequin hands, crepe paper ribbons, a wine glass half full, all arranged on one of the beautiful table cloths I purchased at the market. To the side of this altar I placed a golden mortar and pestle, full of dried leaves, resting on a golden plate, balanced on a stone brick.
Spring is back in Gumusluk. A gorgeous sunny day with a fairly stiff wind greeted me this morning and I decided to ride my bike to Eski Karakaya (Old Black Stone) village. This tiny hamlet is located in the hills above Gumusluk, across the valley from the Academy, and can’t be seen from my balcony because it is on the other side of the hill. Both Nils and Pelin had told me about it, knowing my interest in ruins, and described it as a “dead village”.
I had to ask several people in the village how to get there and found the turn off at a roundabout not too far from the Academy but on the opposite side of the Berggruen Sitesi housing estate next to us. The small road headed straight up and wound its way along the mountain, up and up and up, past several groups of local houses, past what looked to be a strip mine, past the lone ruined light house on that side of the valley, and around the bend to the other side of the mountain. I could see the village on the hillside from the road. About half the stone houses looked to be ruined but the village did not appear to me to be “dead”. I could see several large and very nicely renovated stone houses with terraces and flowers stretching up the hill towards the kara kaya, black stone, that gives the village its name. I rode my bike as far up the hill as I could go, locked it up, and walked along a very tiny path through the grass to look at the houses. There are no streets as such here and no vehicles – cars must park at the entrance to the village where there is a tiny parking lot. I wandered down the hill and past several beautiful stone houses and saw the most enormous korek. So heavy that it tipped over, the plant was as huge as a tree. I plucked two dried korek from the hillside and carried them back with me balanced on the handle bars.
This evening’s still life is a continuation of yesterday’s. The korek have been moved to the floor, still in their tetractys configuration and have been replaced on the table-top by what I think are giant red carnations and tiny soft leafy fronds from the bottom of the korek stalks. I have also added larger leafy korek fronds to the top of the chair backs to enjoy the shadow they cast on the wall. I also like the reflection of the still life tableau in the large plate glass windows of the painting studio against the backdrop of the foliage outside.