This Tuesday, November 23, at 6:30 p.m., the BFA Fine Arts and BFA Visual & Critical Studies Departments will present an artist’s talk by SVA alumnus and faculty member Peter Hristoff. The lecture has been scheduled to coincide with “Hali: A Collaborative Project between the School of Visual Arts and the Weavers of Priene Hali” at 133/141 West 21st Street, an art exhibition showcasing the results of an international artists’ collaboration that Hristoff organized.
Hristoff was born in Turkey, and a lot of his work has been strongly influenced by Turkish art. In addition to adapting ideas and images from his native country to painting and printmaking, he has made contemporary art using traditional Turkish rug weaving techniques. During the lecture, he will discus some of his art and its relationship to these influences.
In addition, the lecture will cover a larger project that grew out of his interest in Turkish cultural traditions. In 2008, Hristoff was invited to be an artist-in-residence at the Güllübahçe Rug Workshop, a collective of 20 women weavers in the small Turkish village Güllübahçe. The residency led him to organize a long-distance collaboration between the weavers and a group of almost 30 colleagues and students at SVA. Several people from the VCS program were invited to participate, including students Gisel Endara, Anna Fasano, Andrew Kazinec, Shannon Kelly, and George Mott; VCS instructor Dominick Rapone; and department chair Tom Huhn.
Each artist was asked to reinterpret the hali, a small-sized pile carpet traditionally used as a floor cushion. Other than working with a template and color chart that ensured the final designs would have the right proportions and use available shades of yarn, each artist was allowed free rein in creating a design for the weavers in Güllübahçe to complete.
The results are now on display in the front hall of the ground floor at 133/141 West 21st Street. As one might expect, they reflect a wide variety of stylistic and conceptual approaches. Images range from abstract geometric designs to re-interpretations of painted or photographic scenes. One carpet attempts to capture the effect of looking at an image through a clear flask full of water. Another features a grid of four smiling animal character faces by graphic novelist Sara Varon that will be instantly recognizable to anyone familiar with her work. In a few of the carpets, aspects of rugmaking from elsewhere in the world engage in a dialogue with the Turkish technique, as in one piece that seems to remix imagery from Navajo weavings made in the American Southwest.
“Hali” will be up through Saturday the 27th, and is worth a close look if you’re in the area. You can find a lot more information about it in the show’s SVA press page. The press release includes details on the Priene Hali workshop in Güllübahçe, Hristoff’s involvement with the group, and the artists participating in the exhibition. There are also a few images of works from the show.
Back in June, the English-language Turkish newspaper Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review published a story about another collaboration between Hristoff and the weavers of Güllübahçe, which you can read here. You can also find an interview with Hristoff that discusses some of his history and artistic influences at this link.
Tuesday night’s lecture will take place in room 101C at 133/141 West 21st Street, and will start at 6:30 p.m. For additional information, see SVA’s event announcement.