Elizabeth McAlpine
21 March16 May 2009

Laura Bartlett Gallery is pleased to present Flatland, a solo exhibition by British artist Elizabeth McAlpine that features new film sculptures as well as two-dimensional works.

Taking its title from the book by Edwin A. Abbot, published in 1884, that chronicles the adventures of a square entering worlds of multiple dimensions, Elizabeth McAlpine’s new works play with the structural relation between the two dimensional picture plane and the three dimensional architectural space that is integral to the medium of film.

McAlpine reduces the components of film to their simplest elements; light, motion, screen and filmed image but these news works are just as concerned with painting, sculpture and more specifically drawing.

Tilt (in 6 Parts), 2009 comprises of one reel of film, six Super 8mm projectors and a steel supporting structure. The film is composed of white filmed but ‘empty’ frames, except for a grouping of red frames that appear everysixth of the way through the film. The film ribbon travels through each projector producing six concurrent screens on the gallery wall. Acting as a marker of both time and space, the red frame appears as punctuation, heightening ones sense of the films temporality and surface qualities. As it rises and falls through the structure the film reveals the traces of its own activity, accumulating scratches and dust, changing as time passes.  Tilt (in 6 Parts) thus becomes an active drawing, producing a simultaneous present and ever-developing self-portrait. This ‘drawing’ becomes static in the works, #4 (Tilt/Red) and #5 (Tilt/Red), 2009 where a single  film frame has been fixed within a two-dimensional format.

In the downstairs gallery space, Pan (in 2 Parts), 2009, McAlpine has filmed a horizontal piece of string that cuts across the frame. Two projectors are connected by a single loop of film, creating a split screen, and, as the film travels from one projector to the next, the image flips to create an interstitial moment between the two strings. There is a sense of tension between the pair of screens as the strings fail to create an even horizon line.

McAlpine here is interested in the doubling of an external constant within the projection itself, refusing the possibility of submerging in the fictive world of film, and thus exposing the mechanisms of film and presentation.

Born 1973, United Kingdom, Elizabeth McAlpine studied in London at Goldsmiths College and the Slade. Previous solo exhibitions include Laura Bartlett Gallery, Spacex, Exeter and Ballina Arts Center, Ireland. Current and forthcoming exhibitions include Image Festival, Harbour Front Centre, Toronto, Cui Prodest?,  a group exhibition at New Galerie de France, Paris, Double Object, a group exhibition at Thomas Dane Gallery and EAST International, Norwich.