Ilana Halperin

Geologic Intimacy/Physical Geology

Please explain this impulse to me - attempting physical contact with geological time.

Recently, I have been spending time in the ‘oddities’ drawer of the geology department at the Manchester Museum. In it, I came upon a very fine collection from Mount Vesuvius of lava medallions - magma pressed between forged steel plates to form an imprint. Imagine a waffle iron that makes use of lava instead of pancake batter. In the same drawer, a small stone relief sculpture which appeared to be carved out of pure white alabaster was in fact revealed to be a limestone cast made through the same process which forms stalactites in a cave – the residue of a high velocity calcifying process.

I have been thinking about physical geological time – the fast moving lava flow vs. slow time inside a cave. The impulse to understand geothermal water through boiling milk in a 100 degree Celsius sulphur spring in the crater of an active volcano.

I spoke with a paleontologist who told me a fossil is the presentation of the moment of death, that trace fossils record an action - eating or walking, but not the organism itself.

Jim said to me, a volcano buries itself. It perpetually erases its own history.

A volcanologist explained the nature of love to me. He said, you love what you get to know, what you pay attention to and therefore become more aware of. This is not a passive form of love.

This is how I feel about the volcano.

Slide show: 
Physical Geology, plan for a cave cast, 2008
Towards Heilprin Land, 2006
Towards Heilprin Land, 2006
Inside Professor Molchanov. Installation View. Doggerfisher, 2007
Towards Heilprin Land. Installation View. Doggerfisher, 2007
Nomadic Landmass, 2006

Ilana Halperin (born New York 1973) studied at Glasgow School of Art and Brown University. Recent exhibitions include Physical Geology, Manchester Museum; Estratos, curated by Nicolas Bourriaud, Murcia, Spain; Conspire; transmediale 08, House of World Cultures, Berlin and Towards Heilprin Land, doggerfisher, Edinburgh (2008). It Starts From Here, De la Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea; Sharjah Biennial 8. Sharjah, U.A.E; and Enlightenment; Collecting for the Future. Hunterian Art Museum, Glasgow (2007). Where the Wild Things Are, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee; Drawing Links, The Drawing Room, London and touring (2006). In 2006 Ilana was Artist-in-Residence with Oceanwide Expeditions/Tiffin Projects, Greenland and in 2005 did a Research Residency at Camden Arts Centre, London. She was recently awarded the Esmee Fairbairn Residency at Cove Park, Argyll and Bute and was an Alchemy Fellow at Manchester Museum from 2006 - 2008. Future exhibitions include Experimental Geography curated by Nato Thompson at The Albuquerque Museum, New Mexico and touring. Ilana Halperin lives and works in Glasgow.