Wednesday, 10 May 2017

'Geologic Intimacy (Yu no Hana)' by Ilana Halperin at Peacock Visual Arts!

March brought lots of great art events to the city with Walk The Block (covered here) and 'Geologic Intimacy (Yu no Hana)' Peacock Visual Arts. This show is a bit of a mile stone for Peacocks as it was the last show in their old gallery space which has now closed but thankfully the new 'Worm' space located at the Castlegate is almost finished and has already played host to the Thomson & Craighead exhibition for the Look Again Festival. I finally managed to find the photos I took at the exhibition and I have to say I'm glad I wont have to spend hours trying to colour correct photos from their shows anymore! But as a space it did play host to some amazing exhibitions, parties and gigs with 'Geologic Intimacy' feeling like a perfect end point to that part of Peacocks history. 
 
The show itself is a stunning collection of works which deals with time, specifically geological time. Geological time as a concept tends to deal with thousands of years as incriments compared to our usual counting of the seconds til we finish work. For her show Halperin managed to harness a bit of this power, leaving some sculptures in the hot pools of Beppu where the water worked on each piece until they were removed over a year later. Walking around the work, you got a sense of the elements working away at the pieces, calcifying and eroding but also leaving something else in their place, perhaps a little trace element of the places in which they were formed.
 
A big lure of the works is the incredible palette of colours, almost the definition of earthy which extended from the many objects to the specially commissioned prints which show the level of collaboration and expertise behind the project. I've included the exhibition write up below to give a proper context to the exhibition and prints. I think its a really nice high note for the old gallery space to end on but I can't wait to see how the new space develops and to see what Peacocks have in store for us!
 
About the show....
 
For 20 years, Ilana Halperin dreamt about Beppu. In 1995, back in the urban geology of New York City, she found a book on the street about volcanoes. A chapter on Beppu featured – with photographs of children cooking eggs on the streets, steam coming through every crack in the sidewalk, and a pool as red as blood. In New York, steam vents erupted at every corner, but these were industrial rather than natural. She imagined a correlation between her home city and Beppu, a place with steaming vents and boiling springs, where daily life was lived and informed by a direct relationship with geothermal phenomena.
 
In 2014, Halperin went to Beppu for the first time on a research residency with BEPPU PROJECT. Geologic Intimacy (Yu no Hana) grew out of this time. Beppu is the second most geothermally active site on earth, after Yellowstone, USA. It is a primary location for the potential of geothermal power in Japan. Over the course of a year, new geothermal sculptures slowly formed in the Kannawa hot springs of Beppu. In September 2016, Halperin returned to Beppu to take the new sculptures out of the water and install a solo exhibition at Fujiya Gallery Hanayamomo, a beautiful listed Meiji Era building. The exhibition coincided with the blossoming of the venue’s 200-year-old Mokusei tree, reflecting philosophical approaches within Halperin’s practice – thinking in time scales longer than the human lifespan.
 
The exhibition at Peacock Visual Arts will feature new Japanese sculptures, alongside a geothermal sculpture formed in Iceland and new works on paper commissioned by Peacock. To employ experimental processes, field work, and traditional print-based methods, Halperin is developing a new series of work with Peacock’s Master Printmaker, Michael Waight, utilising Yame Washi paper – the oldest Japanese handmade paper in Kyushu which can last 1,000 years – in combination with hot spring minerals she collected in Beppu.
 
To pair with the ‘field pigments’ from Japan, Halperin visited Dr Allan Lilly, Principal Soil Scientist at The James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen in January 2017, who introduced her to the National Soils Archive founded in 1934. A selection of Scottish soil was generously donated to the project, including soil sourced from Slighhouses Farm where James Hutton, the ‘Father of Modern Geology’, farmed and began to formulate radical ideas about the age of the earth and deep geologic time. The nature of materials within these new works reflects the unique processes which formed the geothermal sculptures in Beppu, continuing the narrative of exchange between places intrinsic to this project.
 
Halperin and Mabon are working with the Glasgow based design studio Graphical House on a limited edition Artist Book that will mark the completion of the project, acting as a printed matter response to this ambitious and culturally diverse project. For more details on the publication visit the project website geologic-intimacy-yu-no-hana.tumblr.com.

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