ISTANBUL , Sept.
16, 2005 â€“ New York based, Istanbul born artist Peter Hristoff will launch â€śDua,â€ť two exhibitions in
the city of his birth this month, each showcasing different expressions
of his work, which is defined by its exploration of human spiritually.
presentation of 10 rugs, â€śDua: The Rugs,â€ť based on drawings Hristoff has
been working on since 1997 at the Hagia Sophia will be the first to open
on Sept. 19. The rugs combine Hristoffâ€™s signature motifs of the
cosmological, floral, figurative and geometric with the traditional
structure of Anatolian carpets, known as halis. They symbolize the
spiritual search inherent in human nature, regardless of religious
orientation and will be supplemented by photographs, prints books and
memorabilia from the Hristoff family archives that relate to the
extraordinary history of the Hagia Sophia, considered the greatest
Byzantine structure in the world.
Hristoffâ€™s other Istanbul
exhibit, â€śDua: The Paintings,â€ť opening Sept. 22, will be mounted at
the C.A.M. Gallery. The collection paintings and drawings that will be
displayed there explore the human dilemma of spirituality in conflict
with base desires, as well as emotional clashes, such as joy versus fear,
hope versus despair.
Both exhibitions, cosponsored by the Moon and Stars Project, represent
for Hristoff a sense of returning home to Turkey . That is particularly true
of the Hagia Sophia show because of his familyâ€™s relationship with Ali
Sami Boyar, who was appointed director of the facility when the circa
537 former church (and mosque) became a museum in 1934. Hristoffâ€™s
paternal grandfather, also an artist, emigrated to Istanbul in 1926 from Bulgaria and became a close friend of Boyerâ€™s,
the result of their work together on the design of the first stamps and
currency for the then young Republic of Turkey . Boyer was also a friend and a
mentor to Hristoffâ€™s father while he attended the Istanbul Academy of
Fine Arts, now Mimar Sinan University .
â€śThe opportunity to exhibit at the Hagia Sophia connects me to a family
legacy. Despite our relocation to the
more than 40 years ago, a tradition of painting that
references the homeland prevails. Furthermore, the monumentâ€™s history
as the greatest of Byzantine churches and subsequently as a mosque,
makes it a particularly fitting venue for the display of the rugs,
because of their association with notion of prayer and the acting or
praying,â€ť notes Hristoff.
The artistâ€™s interest
in rugs, halis and kilims is a natural connection to the journal-like
quality of his work. He is fascinated by the diarist element in Turkish
rug making, whereby the weaver incorporates personal events, beliefs,
hopes and desires with regional traditional symbols. It is an approach
Hristoff has been taking in his work.
â€śThe seccade, or
prayer rug, is an object of sacred ritual, of contemplation and of
decoration. In many ways, paintings function as seccades for me,
providing a separate place to contemplate, a place of isolation,â€ť
observes Hristoff. â€śThe prayer rug creates a sacred space wherever it
is placed â€“ an object charged with hope
and spiritual connections, as well as its physical relationship to the
body and geography. The ritual of the placement, of prayer, of
absolution all tap into issues I have been addressing in my work since
the early 1980s.â€ť
fully illustrated catalog showcasing the works of both exhibitions,
complemented with essays by art historian / critic Monroe Denton and
artist / writer Michael Bennett will be available at the Hagia Sophia
and the C.A.M. Gallery.
Pete r Hristoff was born in Istanbul and
emigrated to the
with his family in 1963. A recipient of the Joan Mitchell
Award in Painting and of the New York Foundation for the Arts Awards in
Drawing / Printmaking, he is a faculty member of New
York City â€™s School of Visual Arts and is currently working on a
series of paintings that explore the nature of belief.
In January 2005, Hristoff curated â€śIznik: Legendary Ceramics of Turkeyâ€ť
at the Visual Arts Gallery in New York
exhibition at the Hagia Sophia, Sultanahmet, 34400
Istanbul , will run Sept 19 to Oct. 4, while that at the
C.A.M. Gallery, Sehbender Sokak, No: 4 Asmalimescit, Tunel, 34430
, will be up from Sept. 22 to Oct.22.
For more information
please contact Ellen Callamri of Squid Ink, LLC at (212) 227-5790 or via
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