Talin Hazbar by Océane Sailly

Through her practice, Talin Hazbar aims to showcase the overlapping boundaries in the urge of investigating the ecological, historical and social aspects to form closer links. She refers to her work as structures of impermanence; structures that at times mutely build-up and accumulate and at others decay into their surrounding landscape. The interest lies on the macro and micro scale of the existing natural landscapes where certain behaviors occur. In her work, impermanence is defined through creating organic structures, organic systems that allow for organic growth within a certain set of parameters where we can control and predict growth whilst allowing for unpredictable moments to exist.

The process of materials transforming and withering towards growth or decay allows Hazbar to engage with the state of temporality that exists around and within us. She started exploring the notion of structures of impermanence through out the sand solidification research. In this phase of the research, the focus was to redefine the idea of molds. Exploring malleable molds, a mold created by the same material, to create an organic form and leave space for material contingency where the sand responds as structure and a mold. 

From 2015 to 2017, the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres - Cité de la Céramique (Paris) hosted Talin Hazbar in residence for Co-Lab, a project in partnership with the French Institute which offered the opportunity to four artists based in the United Arab Emirates to live a unique experience with four historic French manufacturers. Artists and manufacturers worked together to trade skills and breathe new life into four timeless crafts: embroidery, glass, weaving and ceramic For her collaboration with Sèvres, one of the principal European porcelain manufacturers, Talin Hazbar collected sand from three different archeological sites (Mleiha, Al Ain and Dhaid) that are dotted around the Emirates, unearthing the forts and domestic sites that stood on the peninsula hundreds of years ago. 

She then brought the sand from the UAE to the Sèvres studios, close to Versailles, where the artisans experimented with using sand in various Sèvres shapes and processes which werer developed and taken from the 18th century. For Hazbar, the sand samples, which she transported, became the “visitor material” being set into the “host material” of the porcelain. When she brought the work back to the UAE, the roles were reversed: she embedded the porcelain forms in sand, which acted as the host material in the series of standing columns she titled Transient. 

As she states, « Transient marries those two materials in a revered relationship. The artwork questions, on a wider scale, our relation to history, memory and the understanding of time”. Indeed, Transient explores materials and the notion of travel between two points. At the Sèvres studios, the process began with introducing sand to various Sèvres shapes from the 18th century. Sand interfered in the process of making a porcelain vessel at various stages; mixing, forming the body, bisque-firing, glazing and firing at various temperatures, each experiment produced different results where sand (a visitor material) was encapsulated in porcelain (a host material) permanently. On local grounds, in the UAE, sand acted as the host material where it encapsulated Serves porcelain forms (visiting material) at a Bisque-fired stage in traditional techniques such as block casting and stacking. In both cases, the visiting material was preserved within the host material to reflect our hyper- evolving environment and its strong global connections. Through this piece, Hazbar illustrates a nomadic relationship between materials. Transient connects the way we perceive time and how we value it by staging forms and materials out of context as extractions within new realms. The process and storyline of “transient: A Brief stay” instigate questions on impermanence and value.

Accumulation is the result of an ongoing collaboration with a group of fishermen in Sharjah. The structures were placed in the Arabian Sea, within the time frame of 6 months intermittently depending on fishing seasons and other constrains. Each piece maps the specific growing conditions and species make-up of the location it was submerged in. Highlighting the cyclical notion of process as key to the state of in-between. A sense of systematic, and repetitive integration takes place throughout this journey the Qargours; fishing baskets went through. A sense of displacement enveloped these structures during their initial immersion; however, within a short time, colonies of the sea attach themselves to them. After the first dip and the first layer of accumulation, the structure is removed, and left to dry on the beach, before being placed elsewhere for the process to repeat all over again.

This process allows for solidification and the creation of a new form. Each time the structures were reintroduced to a new part of the sea, a new set of constrains and questions were considered. Accretions, expands on the accumulation research to cover more stores which surrounds the ocean and our relationship to this landscape through a series of five structures, inspired from the forms of existing and deformed “Qargour” which have been lost in the ocean and have been deformed naturally by the water currents and other forces. The research aims to gather and reach wider range of specialists to learn more and understand the nature, history and culture of the region.

Drawing on the natural systems of the ocean, the pieces aim is to keep the colonies, the calcified structures, to better understand the traces and the organisms left on the structures. Because of the wide marine taxonomy, it is important to understand the growth and try to identify the types of growth across the region and the factors that reshape and rebuild these structures. The calcium carbonate structures these life-forms construct on the surface of the structures transform it into an ornate light shade in order to understand the fragility and transparency of these traces yet the resilience of these colonies to the structure they are adhered to. Accretions aims to offer an example of how, through respect and understanding of natural forces, systems, and time we can work collaboratively with nature to grow structures and raising questions about the fishing practice, the relationship with the ocean and the other living matter.

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