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List of photos on this website of sites occurring on The World Heritage List of UNESCO.
basilica san marco

Basilica San Marco

1957, Istanbul. Lives in Istanbul.

Alptekin’s obsession with the quadriga of horses on the façade of San Marco in Venice was the inspiration for this project. [the 9th Istanbul Biennial] The horses were originally made in Istanbul and displayed on the Hippodrome in Sultanahmet until the Crusaders stole them in 1204. In 2003, Alptekin began his own quest for the magic and reality of these strange and awkward sculptures. Initially, he sought to bring back the horses permanently but as the story developed he became as interested in the whole iconography and meaning of equestrian sculptures. He began to document public monuments with horses around Europe, thinking about the form of the horse, its rider, their situation in the city and the way these materialised the power of emperors, kings and heroes. Next to them, the riderless quadriga seemed to embody another idea.
Ultimately, the artist was able to borrow copies from Venice for the duration of the exhibition. In parallel with their first reappearance in Istanbul for over 800 years, the work becomes a meditation on the history of public art, heroes and leaders, and the possible meanings that such works could have for us now. Different elements from a vast archive of research material are displayed in Platform, organised by Alptekin according to his own systems of visual narrative. For instance, the quadriga is reproduced on Ottoman influenced tiles, bringing two different public art forms together, while the videos signal the long shadow of influence that the horses have had since their origins in Byzantium.
Charles Esche
Source: The 9th Istanbul Biennial. September 16 - October 30 2005.



Mosaic in the façade of the Basilica San Marco


Mosaic in the façade of the Basilica San Marco

'Founded in the 5th century and spread over 118 small islands, Venice became a major maritime power in the 10th century. The whole city is an extraordinary architectural masterpiece in which even the smallest building contains works by some of the world's greatest artists such as Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese and others.'

The World Heritage List

Photos taken on June 24 2003


Next: Venece (Venezia) 3

    Photographs and text © J.M.Posthumus

E-mail: Hans Posthumus




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