Nayari Castillo and Kate Howlett-Jones:
Rose of the Winds
As remembrance of the interwoven relations between cities that share a common past and to mark the centenary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the artists Nayari Castillo and Kate Howlett-Jones, with the generous support of the Steiermark Government, Il Communi di Trieste and City of Sarajevo and in close cooperation with institutions, curators (Francesca Lazzari, Esther Castriani, Mak Kapetanovic, Marijana Kramaric) and sponsors across borders (Stein von Grein among others), have developed “ROSE OF THE WINDS”: a three-part installation between the cities of Trieste, Sarajevo and Graz. Each part takes the form of an interlinked, quiet (non-)monument on which the visitor can leave subtle traces of their presence.
A rose of the winds is a mapping system, a code, a measure, and it is a circle. Over the past six months, in their Rose of the Winds project the artists have uncovered the enduring traces of the dual monarchy in the three cities and asked the question, Why do empires begin, where do they end? What tangles of order and chaos have they left behind?
Central to their approach is the concept of palimpsest. A palimpsest is a very old document on which the original writing has been erased and replaced with new writing. Sometimes, however, the older layers beneath re-emerge, or can be uncovered by archaeologists. When applied to history, it describes how people recall events within and beyond their lifetimes – as a layering of experiences over faded pasts. Some memories remain fresh and are kept alive, while some memories recede, some that are inconvenient or even painful are deliberately buried and overwritten. Just as with a real palimpsest, these memories can resurface naturally later, triggered by exposure to private or collective resonances.
In the three cities of Graz, Trieste and Sarajevo there are memories like these layers of script – both personal memories and collective memories – that can be uncovered and deciphered with great care, buried traces in fragments, or whole but fragile, never quite properly set. There are shadowy imprints left by the gentle people who go about their everyday lives while the world hardens around them, and there are the tracks of their movements, their daily rhythms, that are small, insignificant, private, and more beautiful for it.
Howlett-Jones and Castillo have focused on these private instances of post-Habsburg history between the three cities, positive interactions, visible cultural exchanges, historical overlapping and the concept of togetherness. Three public art site-specific installations reveal different and multiple layers of the cities’ historical dynamics before and after the fall of the Empire: a contemporary archaeology of trinomial influences between the cities.
Nayari Castillo is a Graz-based Venezuelan artist who has exhibited installations and videos in museums, galleries and public space both nationally and internationally. Her installation work relies on site- specific constructs firmly attached to travelling concepts. Her interventions engage with history, time and space, claiming a semantic where ancient tools and contemporary devices combine in one and only discourse.
Kate Howlett-Jones is a Graz-based British artist who works with text on the page and within space. Narrative, forms of translation and typography are her main obsessions; within her works is possible to observe a delicate use of text as materiality, where meaning and form re-dimension to form new compounds.