An Excavation

Maeve Brennan / & / 2022

Three crates of 2500-year-old Greek vases are excavated for the second time by two history experts, who uncover the many new layers of meaning that have emerged in the meantime.

In 2014, 45 boxes full of stolen antiquities were discovered in a warehouse at Geneva airport. The artefacts belonged to the now dethroned art dealer Robin Symes and contained tens of thousands of archaeological objects worth a total of over seven million pounds. Three of the boxes were sent for examination by two experts in Aarhus. Maeve Brennan’s video work documents the work of the two experts in mapping the remains of the ancient Greek vases, which were excavated for a second time – but this time from the vast illegal market in rare art objects. The vases, which are over 2500 years old, were originally used in funeral rituals and depict scenes from the kingdom of the dead. With forensic precision and professional accuracy, Brennan closely depicts how two historical narratives – and two vastly different periods in human history – merge in a present in which the priceless artifacts are revealed to hold new layers of meaning.