‘Ruins of Empires’ is an on-going research art project working with the legacy and effect of empires in art, architecture and literature. It also intends to explore a socio-political dimension for some parts of the investigation.
In Rome, as part of the Abbey Fellowship at the British School at Rome (BSR), I have explored the facade of the BSR, designed by Edwin Lutyens, which was talked about at the time as the quintessential symbol of the British Empire. It has been fascinating to explore the architectural journey from the Roman to the British Empire. To see the works of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Francesco Borromini, Donato Bramante, Andrea Palladio and Giovanni Battista Piranesi who were inspired by the architecture of ancient Rome. Their work in turn informed Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren, and they in turn inspired Lutyens for making the BSR facade. Tour de force of dazzling creativity, but how little has actually changed in terms of the message; the facade has an elegant design but above all it transmits imperial power.
I delved into the history of the BSR and started thinking how its imperial past could be re-evaluated and re-contextualised. I experimented with site-specific audio-visual and painting installation for the BSR facade, collage cut-outs, texts, performance experiments using busts of former directors of the BSR in cooperation with my colleagues at the school. Work on the 'Ruins of Empires' project will continue in London in 2023. I want to thank the wonderful colleagues and staff at the BSR for their wholehearted support of my work.
The above artworks were presented in December 2022 at the British School at Rome as part of the BSR Autumn Open Studio.