Autobiographical Trace Fossils co-incides with the opening of Halperin’s largest public commission to date, as Artist-Curator of the geology collection for the new Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, in the birthplace of Charles Darwin.

For the exhibition Autobiographical Trace Fossils Halperin presents a collection of works including prints, watercolors and a limestone cave cast.

The work explores her longstanding fascination with geological phenomena, focused around the generation of new landmass formed inside and outside the body for example Physical Geology (cave cast/slow time) was formed over 10 months in a petrifying spring in France. These works will be seen for the first time in Glasgow, and were recently shown in significant exhibitions in Berlin.

“Through the course of my work, I have boiled milk in a 100 degree Celsius sulphur spring in the crater of an active volcano; stood with a friend on both sides of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge; talked with geologists inside a lava tube inhabited by life-affirming bacteria; formed sculptures in caves and hot springs; spent time with geology collections formed inside the body; and held the Allende Meteorite, the oldest known object in the solar system, between my two hands. Geology and life can be very unexpected.”

Halperin travels widely, recently returning from a research residency in Japan and has a highly experimental approach to her practice. This can been seen in the process used to create the woodblock prints in the exhibition. The artist used original drawings to make laser-cut wooden forms at DCA Print Studio, which were then submerged in the Blue Lagoon, an active geothermal pool in Iceland and left to rapidly encrust with new silica mineral deposits. Returning to DCA, she cut a similar set of woodblocks and used these to make the large-scale relief prints in the series.

Halperin is undertaking a major new commission Learning to Read Rocks with Comar on the Isle of Mull, launching in May, part of Generation; 25 yrs of contemporary art in Scotland.


Born in 1973 in New York, USA, Ilana Halperin lives and works in Glasgow. She received her Master of Fine Arts from the Glasgow School of Art and her Bachelor of Arts from Brown University, Rhode Island. Recent solo exhibitions in Berlin include, Steine at the Berliner Medizinhistorisches Museum der Charité, and Hand Held Lava at Schering Stiftung. Group exhibitions include Volcano at Compton Verney in Warwickshire, England; Estratos, PAC Murcia, Spain; Polar Dispatches, Portland Museum of Art, Maine and the Sharjah Biennial. She has received numerous awards, including a Creative Scotland Artist Award, a British Council Darwin Now Award and Alchemy Fellowship at the Manchester Museum. Halperin was the first Artist Fellow at the National Museum of Scotland, which culminated in the solo exhibition The Library, as part of the 2013 Edinburgh Art Festival.

Image: ‘Autobiographical Trace Fossils’ from the ‘Geologic Intimacy’ series made in collaboration with DCA; 5 woodblock prints.
Each print: 152 x 125 cm
Edition of 10

Exhibition opening times: Wed – Fri 10-4pm Sat 10-2pm (or by appointment)

Further info:

Ilana Halperin

Ilana Halperin

Ilana Halperin

Ilana Halperin

Ilana Halperin