Drawing on the flavours of both Istanbul and England, the installation by Tasha Marks of AVM Curiosities fuses the history of sugar with contemporary Turkish craftsmanship. The inspiration for the installation refers to a quote by Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi; ‘This sea of sugar knows no shore, no boundary’. Rumi was a 13th-century Persian poet, theologian, and mystic whose teachings are considered to transcend national and ethnic borders, from Iran to America and beyond.
Through on-site and historical research on the use of sugar in Turkey and England, Marks has created an installation for the Biennial that challenges perceptions of this contentious foodstuff. Created in collaboration with Turkish craftspeople, the installation is reminiscent of food architectures created for fifteenth century “banquets,” which were feasts for the eyes as much as the stomachs, reserved for society’s elite at which a select few attendees would consume lavish displays of rare delicacies, and where stunning molded sugar centerpieces were the primary visual attraction. In her installation, Marks transports us back into this environment with “a sensory experience that is both aesthetic and culturally symbolic.”
In combining the forgotten art of sugar sculpture with traditional Turkish mold making and carpentry, AVM Curiosities’ sweet manifesto challenges our perceptions of the edible world around us, engaging our intellects and senses in a new consideration of food culture. In keeping with the spiritual nature of the source, the work will have an almost altar like quality to it, with the sugar patterns radiating like waves and rosewater scented air being a reference to ritual purification, and the scent’s association with the prophet Muhammad. Through sugar as a universal medium, the aim of the work is to combine the traditions of the past and the rituals of different cultures to create an experience that takes an everyday material and makes it extraordinary.
This Sea of Sugar Knows No Bounds is at the Galata Greek School, Kemeralti, Cad No. 49, 34425 Galata, Beyoglu, Istanbul from 1 November – 14 December 2014. Click here for more information on the Biennial.