If You Build It

Time of the Empress is a meditation on the cycles of construction and decay that characterize the rise and fall of civilizations and, of course, figure so prominently in major urban locations like the current site. The work’s title, Time of the Empress obliquely references a passage in Marguerite Yourcenar’s 1951 fictionalized autobiography Memories of Hadrian, where the dying emperor reflects broadly on cycles of progress and regression as well as on chaos and order in history.

Though inspired by the artists’ journey through the Middle East and the Balkans in 2009, Time of the Empress does not communicate a specific sense of place but rather an artificial composite, a mesmerizing rhythm of collapse and reconstruction that collides the natural and human with the abstract and architectural. In the inexorable rhythms of time, all identities are continually constructed, reinforced and dismantled.

Time of the Empress was originally commissioned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2012 as part of the exhibition Some People.