These are coordinates of archaeological sites in the UAE that Talin Hazbar immersed herself in, collecting sand and questioning the fragility of landscapes through time. Hazbar has always been interested in deciphering and understanding found artifacts from archeological dig. When unearthed, do we consider what is found at an archeological dig a frozen moment of time? Does time die at that specific moment or extend beyond to take different forms? These are some questions that Hazbar had in mind while researching for “transient: A Brief Stay”. Archaeology as a contemporary practice is considered an act of rescuing. Driven by the fear of loss or the curiosity to know more, as a mode of research, archaeology helps to fragment time, as much as restore it.
In “ Transient” , Hazbar took grains of sand from three different sites in the UAE that have recently been activated by archaeologists and have undergone rapid changes in status. The sand extractions have then been incorporated in several studies on culture, nature, value and impermanence. These studies took place and were in collaboration with Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres. In addition to treating the sand extractions as time mediums, the studies explored the marriage of sand and porcelain through different processes of wheel throwing, casting and sculpture.
Throughout history, ceramics, and porcelain in particular, have been used as a medium of preservation. They often carried important cultural images from historic moments in different time periods, enriching the material with cultural value. This mode was exemplified at Sèvres during the administration of Alexandre Brogniart (1770–1847), who began a process of extracting figures and images from painted masterpieces and casting them in three-dimensional porcelain sculptures. The porcelain works kept the memory of these mythologies alive. The new material and physical state of these historic images gave them the power to occupy space and glorified the subject depicted in the original paintings. The process was considered an act of preservation as paintings seemed delicate and prone to the natural decaying processes over time.
“transient” explored materials and the notion of travel between two points. At the Sèvres studios, the studies began with introducing sand to various classic Sèvres shapes from the 18th century. Sand interfered in the process of making a porcelain vessel at various stages; mixing, forming the body, bisque-firing, glazing and firing at various temperatures, each experiment produced different results where sand ( a visitor material) was encapsulated in porcelain (a host material) permanently. On local grounds, here in the UAE, sand acted as the host material where it encapsulated Serves porcelain forms (visiting material) at a Bisque-fired stage in traditional techniques such as block casting and stacking. In both cases, the visiting material was preserved within the host material to reflect our hyper-evolving environment and its strong global connections.
“transient” takes a linear form that illustrates a beginning with an undefined end to reflect our understanding of time and cultural exchange. The form of the column and its location lends the viewer the chance to witness a slow build up or a rapid deterioration. The embedded pieces incorporate a shade of blue that has always been important historically. It has travelled with trade and became a traditional pigment not only in porcelain production but across ceramic traditions. The blue pigment signified different meanings through different civilisations from the color of divinity, sky, nature to the color of royalty looking at its capacity at sustaining time. The piece aims to put nature and archeology on display, where existence and disappearance, building and deterioration can be viewed simultaneously and at the same level.
Through this piece, Hazbar illustrates a nomadic relationship between materials. “transient” connects the way we perceive time and how we value it by staging forms and materials out of context as extractions within new realms. The process and storyline of “transient: A Brief stay” instigate questions on impermanence and value.
credits: ( photos)
Erik and Petra Hesmerg