Painting on marble, 450 x 300 x 250 cm, ca. 55 tons
Natura Mermer Şantiye marble quarry, Gökpinar, Bilecik, Turkey
This statue was made directly at the Natura Mermer Şantiye marble quarry and was dedicated to the people working there. Their work is to fracture, break, and cut marble into blocks, so this became the main concept of the piece. A fracture is primary line of division, but also a problem, since what you want is a healthy, strong stone which does not fracture. I picked a fractured stone with two beautiful, straight-cut sides. Using a tiny brush, I delicately contoured the morphology of the fractured part with black paint, painting directly on the marble as a sort of natural canvas. This gave rise to a visual contrast between the straight sides and the fractured part, but also to a connection between the quarry workers’ work on the straight sides and my work on the fractured side. I highlighted in detail that which these people work with every day. I wanted the delicacy – almost tininess – of the painting on such huge dimensions to bring lightness to the hard lives of the workers and to turn their problem into a beauty in detail. I was also interested in what these people see in the object outside of the concept I imprinted in it. The chief of the quarry told me: “I see shapes I never realized were there before. I always took fracture for a problem, but here I see it as beautiful, and the stone feels light.” They also told me it reminds them of cave paintings in Altamira, that they recognize images and symbols in the lines and that some parts seem like oriental ornaments to them. They said that the stone now hides a writing which speaks to them.