Ilana Halperin - New landmass Neue Landmasse
Volcanic activity is never far from our minds or the world news. With her new solo exhibition Hand Held Lava at the Ernst Schering Foundation’s Project Space opening on 2nd February 2012, the Glasgow-based artist llana Halperin (b.1973, New York) looks deep into volcanic phenomena and the interplay of life cycles between humans and volcanoes.
Hand Held Lava will focus upon the artist’s long-standing engagement with volcanoes, their generation and life stories. Drawing on personal experience, Ilana Halperin makes biographical connections to volcanic phenomena and examines parallels between geological and human life cycles. The ejection of stony material, the generation of new landmass, the contrast of slow time and fast time: Halperin employs geology as a language to conceive our understanding of time and our relationship to a constantly evolving environment. The exhibition juxtaposes new artworks in poetic relation with historical and geological artefacts. An early 19th century lava medallion with its accompanying handwritten note (gifted to Alexander von Humboldt, a loan from the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin) and a series of newly commissioned works – drawings created with lava stamps able to withstand temperatures of liquid magma at 1200 degrees – reflect upon the artist’s volcanic sojourns and tell of the changeable nature of landmass, historical events and their interconnection to human experience.
Halperin’s art practice combines fieldwork in diverse locations: Hawaii, Iceland, France, China, in museums, archives and laboratories and develops in collaboration with geological specialists such as The Global Volcanism Program, British Geological Survey and Earthwatch Institute. Her work has featured in many significant exhibitions, and she has been the recipient of numerous awards. She has recently been appointed the first Artist Fellow at the National Museum of Scotland, and as the Artist-Curator of the geology collection of The Music Hall (the new Shrewsbury Museum) in the town of Charles Darwin’s birth.
Running parallel to the artist’s exhibition at the Ernst Schering Foundation, a striking new solo exhibition investigates the intersection between body stones and geology—new landmass formed inside and outside the body. Steine (Stones) by Ilana Halperin at the Berlin Museum of Medical History of the Charité draws inspiration from the connections between the body’s physical geology and that of the Earth we inhabit. Inspired by the collection of body stones at the Museum, Halperin has made a series of new works formed in the Blue Lagoon, Iceland. These will be shown together with sculptures created in the petrifying springs of Fontaines Pétrifiantes de Saint-Nectaire in France, and loans from Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin. Funded by the Ernst Schering Foundation, the exhibition will provide fascinating new insights into body stones as artefacts and as geological phenomena.
Sara Barnes (Independent Curator, Berlin)
Andrew Patrizio (Professor of Scottish Visual Culture, University of Edinburgh)
Publisher: Shering Stiftung
Dimensions: 244 x 170 mm