Hobson’s Choice: Elizabeth McAlpine at Laura Bartlett Gallery

13 July 2012 By
Hobson's Choice: Laura McAlpine

29 June – 18 August 2012

10 Northington Street, London WC1N 2JG


Open: Wednesday – Friday 11am – 6pm, Saturday 12 – 5pm or by appointment

Laura Bartlett Gallery in Bloomsbury has just opened a new exhibition of works by British artist Elizabeth McAlpine, titled A Portrait.  The exhibition brings together works from her recent series The Map of Exactitude (2011 – 2012), made during two studio residencies: one in Vienna in 2011 and another in London earlier this year.  Born out of a provisional occupation and temporary response to these two studio situations, the resulting works are abstract, folded black and white pin-hole photographs shown alongside the sculptural forms in which the images have been generated, offering ‘a portrait’ of a specific time and place.  In the gallery one enters on arrival, the artist has created sculptures made from black card with tripod-type supports, aping camera-like forms.  Each of these forms are 1:1 scale recreations of the corners of the Viennese studio McAlpine was working in, with photographic paper cut and folded and inserted inside these structures to create a pin-hole camera.   The accompanying photographs on the walls show the photographic images generated by these forms, literally depicting the very spaces from which the sculptures originate.  An equivalent strategy to generate abstract images from the physical moulding of a studio space is presented in the downstairs gallery, where two sculptures have been cast from the vaulted ceiling of another studio space.   The works are highly satisfying formally and whilst overtly site-specific, they astutely undermine the ability of unmediated physical and material conditions to communicate experience and memory of specific time and space. A very nice show!

Image: Elizabeth McAlpine, A Portrait, installation view, 2012, courtesy the artist and Laura Bartlett Gallery