Rita Urso is pleased to present the first solo show in Italy of English artist Elizabeth McAlpine (London, 1973). After the exhibition projects dedicated to the relationship between time and the film-photographic image, held in the gallery over the course of the last two years (The Image of Time, 2014, Ophelia, 2015) Rita Urso is bringing to Milan an artist who has explored this very relationship with conviction and insight over the last decade. Often making use of film as a means of expression in and of itself, McAlpine has always stood out among artists who work with moving images and cinematic practices for her attention to the material itself, to the medium of film as film, and for her stratigraphic conception of time, often made of overlaps and superimpositions rather than scrolling, of depth rather than length. This is why much of her work has been featured both at film festivals as well as in group shows on the theme in prestigious galleries around the world: at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (2013), at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art in Australia (2012 and 2013) at the Tate Modern in London and at Art Basel (2006, 2010). McAlpine is represented in the UK by Laura Bartlett Gallery, London and in Us by Laurel Gitlen, New York.
The exhibition entitled cinematic sediments features for the first time a selection of works by the artist which best attest to her interest in “film geology”. The selection includes six type prints from the series The Ends, begun in 2013: a series of single images based on the residual photograms that make up the physical, rather than the narrative, aspect of film. Taken from 35mm film, these end strips have recorded the accidental treatment of man and time (scratches, dust, overexposures) and are superimposed over one another by the artist, in a geology of optics and temporality, which (finally) leads to a single image that is often broken down into an aniconic apparition: a central void lined at the sides by smears and bright chromatic rings that are defined in the so-called soundtrack of the film. A second paradigmatic work on display is the recent The Raid from 2015 in which the artist rearranges the eponymous 35mm film into seven strips, so that each film frame is physically superimposed upon each other, thus creating a narration by means of their very materiality; it follows a method which McAlpine has adopted for other works: “I’m attracted to the materiality of film because it is the only medium in which you can represent time as something physical, concrete; of a given time as duration, as something that you can grasp and which reminds me of layers of rock sediment, after millennia”.
The show will open Thursday 18th February 2016 at 7pm and will run until 13th May 2016, from Tuesday to Friday from 3pm to 7pm, and Monday and Saturday by appointment. The catalogue dedicated to the show is accompanied by a text by Denis Viva, art historian and professor at the universities of Trento and Udine.