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Ilana Halperin


Ilana Halperin (b. 1973, New York) lives and works between Glasgow and New York. She received a MFA from Glasgow School of Art; Glasgow, Scotland and a BA from Brown University; Providence, RI. Upcoming projects include a solo exhibition entitled Physical Geology, a Field Guide to Body Mineralogy and Other New Landmass at the Berliner Medizinhistorisches Museum der Charité and Hand Held Lava, a collaborative performative lecture at Triple Canopy in Brooklyn. Previous solo exhibitions include Physical Geology (slow time) at Artists Space, New York; Physical Geology (part one) at the Manchester Museum and Nomadic Landmass at doggerfisher in Edinburgh. Her work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions including Volcano - the first comprehensive retrospective of the history of volcanoes in art - at Compton Verney in Warwickshire, Polar Dispatches at the Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME; Estratos, PAC Murcia, Spain; the Sharjah Biennial 8 and Experimental Geography, ICI, currently touring. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Creative Scotland Artist Award, a British Council Darwin Now Award and an Alchemy Fellowship at the Manchester Museum. She has undertaken artist residencies at the Camden Arts Centre, Cove Park and aboard the Professor Molchanov, an ecotourism vessel that travels into the far North. Ilana was an Earthwatch fieldwork participant in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, where she helped map and document subterranean artefacts located in the longest cave in the world. Her subsequent work with Earthwatch featured in the project Nomadic Landmass, and focused on the Eldfell eruption. More on Ilana Halperin and her practice For the most part, humanity rests comfortable in the thought that geological inquiry interrogates passages of time which are almost unfathomably of the 'not now'. Our experience of the geological 'now' is too apocalyptic to be confronted more closely than through the newsman's telescopic lens; earthquake, volcano and landslide all put before us challenges to our sense that geology is something that happened in the mists of time and humanity, by contrast, is what is happening now. There are, however, places on the planet where the relationship between the human and the geological undergoes a seismic shift; geologist or not, to take a journey through the landscape of Iceland is to realise that geological time is indefatigably 'now'. For an artist to make such a journey is to realise that cataclysmic human events, even at the most personal level, conceal and manifest themselves no less enigmatically in the individual than do the processes of geology in the shard, collected by Halperin, from the crest of the Eldfell volcano. The very encounter with a living landmass confounds our daily assumptions about relationships with our pasts, our presents and our futures. Once among the lava flows and steaming craters, geological process manifests itself as less cataclysmic entropy than creative energy - past catching up with future, the forces of entropy fusing with those of creativity. -- Mungo Campbell, extracts from 'Journey through the surface of the Earth', published to accompany Ilana Halperin's art/science research residency, Nomadic Landmass (London), Camden Arts Centre, 2005.