Dialogue of Art and Archaeology: “Lines of Site/Kazı İzleri” Exhibition

Demet Güral

The exhibition “Lines of Site/Kazı İzleri”, which we plan to hold in  February 2022 in Istanbul, will be a contemparary art event that brings together artworks by artists from different countries working with different methods and materials.

Artists will produce works in painting, video, sculpture, photography, installation and other art forms within the scope of contemporary art practice. What these works have in common will be the sedentary life of the Neolithic period in  Aşıklı Höyük as well as the inspirations and emotional impression reflections from today’s excavation findings.

This exhibition, which will be the most important event of the “Art and Archaeology” project, led by the Friends of  Aşıklı Society  and funded  under European Union’s Grant Scheme for Common Cultural Heritage: Preservation and Dialogue between Türkiye and the EU-II (CCH-II) program, will  tour in Barcelona, Dundee and possibly London as a physical or virtual exhibition after Istanbul.

Anita Taylor, Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts at Dundee University in Scotland, our exhibition curator Gary Sangster and artist Dillwyn Smith are at the Aşıklı Höyük Excavation House in 2019.

The 13 artists who confirmed that they would participate in the exhibition, visited Aşıklı Höyük in recent years, spent time with the archaeological team at the excavation site, and made observations. However, during the project period and the art work production phase, it will be very important for artists to spend more time with archaeologists, to produce ideas, both through online meetings and by visiting  Aşıklı again to enhance  “intercultural dialogue”, which is the main goal of the project. These meetings are aimed at bringing the disciplines of archaeology and art together, and relatedly aimed at realization of an interdisciplinary presentation with areas such as anthropology, zoology and botany.

We know that the artists who have visited Aşıklı until now are extremely impressed by the authentic configuration of the site and have started to write the story of Aşıklı in their own art forms. Now it’s time to produce and display “a timeless museum” by observing images of Aşıklı and surroundings unchanged for thousands of years and 10,500 years old Aşıklı Höyük. 

For the “ Lines of Site” exhibition, Dillwyn Smith is designing an installation that he will display on  ladders, one of the basic elements of Aşıklı Höyük home life. He will paint Japanese papers with yellow dye obtained from the flowers of the verbascum plant, which grows in the region and is thought to be used by the people of Aşıklı.