The history of civilization is not concrete. Those with power retroactively construct it as they erect structures in their own names. The perfection of concrete as a building material by the Romans allowed physical manifestations of imperial power to proliferate rapidly across the Mediterranean Empire. This legacy of heroic architecture, phallic warrior monuments, and patriarchal power flows from the ancients and into the governments that followed and drew influence from them, down into our contemporary existence. Echoes can be heard in conversations around Confederate war monuments built in the name of their “Lost Cause”— a retroactive attempt to both mythologize and concretize a false narrative of history and to silence dissenting voices.
In Counterweight, Sera Boeno, Cevahir Özdoğan, and Noa Heyne explore the historical power invested in concrete and draw connections to the architectural and sociological conditions of their birthplaces, Turkey and Israel. Understanding the material as inherently gendered, the artists construct works that question the relationship between history, monumentality, power, and the feminine experience. If concrete has often functioned as a vehicle through which power itself is cemented, how can its power be appropriated by the feminine?
Featuring essays from the curators, Sera, Cevahir, and Noa, as well as an extended bibliography and installation photographs.