In her own words, Hera Büyüktaşcıyan takes us through the journey of the research and making of Reveries of an Underground Forest by unearthing different historical narratives and timelines.
The sculptural installation Reveries of an Underground Forest references the forests and riverbeds of the indigenous peoples that were destroyed and forgotten in the construction of the city of Toronto in the early 1800s, the work alludes to the lumber used by migrant workers to support urban infrastructure. Like amputated tree stumps, these foundations stand in columns of rolled (and unraveling) industrial carpets, parts of their epigraphic surfaces relaying intricate cartographies of land and urbanity.
Their designs are composed from Indigenous and Punjabi (Phulkari) textile patterns and aerial city maps, accentuating the artist’s interest in other contested lands across time. The pillars are symbolic witnesses of the past and the present resurfacing from the ground; their imprinted forms occupy a space before language – part musical annotation, coded symbols of collective loss, part unbounded geographies situated between place and displacement.
Commissioned and produced for the 2019 Toronto Biennial, the work is currently on view at the artist’s solo at Green Art Gallery.