A Selection from the Collection
Alper Aydın, 1989 Stone Library, 2016

Found stones and wood

208 x 300 x 36 cm

Istanbul Museum of Modern Art Collection

Artist donation

Commissioned by Istanbul Modern on the occasion of “TILL IT’S GONE: An Exhibition on Nature and Sustainability”.


Alper Aydın researches the idiosyncratic flows of nature and the physical conditions of the environment he lives in—using a wide range of methodologies from the natural sciences, mythology, symbolism, architecture, design, and art—and creates temporary arrangements in the medium of terrain intervention, photography, sculpture, and installation. He leaves temporary marks by observing in nature, and then collecting items or transforming his location by adding new forms to it. By making use of the metaphors of universal forms, he performs symbolic interventions. Taking an interest in the Earth is a determining principle of his artistic practice, and he treats nature both as a material and as a space in which his own location is the center. The site-specific, monumental forms he produces can be read as representations of a yearning to return to nature. They draw attention to how a contemporary human, estranged from nature, perceives and experiences the environment.

In Aydın’s work titled “Stone Library”, the artist presents an archive of earthly natural forms. The acts of collecting, saving, and documenting that they represent demonstrate his impetus to preserve spaces that are confronted with the danger of depletion. The stones are from a cave, a coastline, and old ruins that were once the strongholds of Greeks in Ordu, the artist’s hometown on the Black Sea coast. A forest in Ankara yielded lithified tree fossils. And religious structures in Konya, and even the historical city walls of Istanbul, represent the collective memory of different groups. In his library of stones, most of which are amorphous and some of which have changed shape through use, Aydın researches the question of whether social memory can be derived from the geological memories of stones. From primitive hunting methods to shelters, he reminds us of the relationship between the historical memory of civilization and stone, the raw material of military and incorporeal structures. From the artist’s perspective, the stones he systematically stows in the library point to nature, the source of absolute knowledge. They also present a vivid image regarding the conditions of cities pre-urbanization. By transforming the stones into the subject of his work Aydın researches the morphological reflections of their process of creation in nature by using geological information relating to them.