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On the occasion of Art Brussels 2017, RITA URSO artopiagallery is pleased to present the Elizabeth McAlpine solo show. The British filmmaker, sculptor and performance artist pursues the investigation into the photographic process seeking vehicles for a poetic reading of the everyday. In the booth McAlpine’s artworks focus on the neglected spaces and the flexibility of form which give her the tools to excavate unregistered apertures and to expose the surface of the space between things that has a primary poetic potential for her work.

The photographic objects on show are not only drawings but also acts of painting, snapshots and sculptures. After a graphite rubbing of a paving stone, a photographic emulsion is applied to both sides of a piece of paper and the rubbing is used as a negative to make a photographic (contact) print. The silver gelatin of the photographic emulsion echoes the graphite used to describe the original impression of the pavement and provides an elegant reflection on photography’s dependence on silver’s alchemic properties. The paper is then exposed to changing degrees of light, corresponding to the degree of fragility it has acquired from its abrasion with the pavement. The black and white photographs are then folded in order to affirm their three dimensional origins and complete a traversal from the 3D to the 2D and back again.

What is inscribed on the surface of the paper is the impression of the shape between paper and pavement, of the skin between two surfaces. This skin is a repository of touch, the remembrance of tactile experience written across it; it is this memory that McAlpine recuperates by exposing the paper to light. She creates an epidermal image, a liminal membrane that registers the reverberations made when we perceive the world through touch. This is a two-way experience made by employing a haptic mode of vision. The echo of the pavement is the echo of our experience of the ground (falling down, scraping it with our hands as children, or summer days spent without shoes). This delicate excavation of forgotten surfaces reminds us of the precarity of experience and how expansive lacunas can spread in our consciousness and sink the everyday poetry that we rarely stop to notice. Poetry derives from the Greek verb poieisis, which meant to both continue and transform the world. McAlpine’s work drips with poeisis, dredging the gaps between our daily remembrances and returning their shapes to our image world.


Elizabeth McAlpine (1973, London) lives and works in Arles, France. Her work has been included in the following selected exhibitions: Collected at Pier 24, San Francisco, Ordinary Pictures at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, On Exactitude and Science at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Secret Life of Images, Kunstverein Freiburg, Freiburg, The Lasting at National Gallery of Modern Art Rome, Everyday Epiphanies, Photography and Daily Life Since 1969 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York as well as Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Australia and Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne; Spike Island, London; The Barbican, London; Kadist Foundation, Paris, deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, Massachusetts. Among her solo shows: Light Reading at LauraBartlett Gallery, London (2017), Cinematic sediments at Rita Urso Gallery, Milan (2015); With Time on My Hands at Laurel Gitlen Gallery, New York (2015); Tip Toe at LauraBartlett Gallery, London (2014) and Imaginary Solutions at SPACEX, Exeter (2007)