You are here

Treasure and Tarnish: Heinrich Schliemann & the Age of Heroes

Exhibition Details

Treasure and Tarnish: Heinrich Schliemann & the Age of Heroes

In 1870 Heinrich Schliemann began excavating a site in Northern Turkey believed to be the location of Homeric Troy. Schliemann, so captivated by the Iliad and Odyssey, earnestly believed the fantastical epics to be historical fact, and worked tirelessly to unearth the archaeological evidence that would prove him right.

Malaika Tolford and Abigail Lowe present a new body of work exploring the power of myth in the making of truth. As a ceramicist and archaeology-enthusiast, Tolford has delved into the materials, surfaces, and imagery of Homeric antiquity, creating a collection of works to masquerade as Schliemann's "discoveries'' from his digs throughout Greece and Turkey. Lowe uses her interdisciplinary training in literature and studio arts to create paper installations that contextualize Tolford’s objects within the frameworks of the Iliad and Odyssey, as well as keystone stories from Schliemann’s personal history.

Schliemann’s wealth and status granted him an almost unfettered ability to write a first draft of the history that obsessed him, one that is still being unwound by contemporary anthropologists. As artists and amateur historians, Tolford and Lowe present Schliemann’s complicated legacy as both prolific intellectual and self-dealing charlatan. Adopting the bravado of their subject, they have joyfully conflated fact and fiction, interpreting Schliemann’s story while weaving in depictions of their own experiences and memories.