Excerpts from the Library: An Audio Field Guide

June 11, 2021 Comments Off on Excerpts from the Library: An Audio Field Guide

Excerpts from the Library is an audio field guide designed to take you on a journey from Glasgow to the Isle of Bute. The work is presented as part of Glasgow International 2021.

The field guide builds on Halperin’s narrative performative lectures to tell a new story of love, lava, loss and the unexpected journeys that we now find ourselves on together. It also marks the artist’s 20th anniversary of working on active, quiet and sleeping volcanoes. Listeners are invited to embark on a domestic geologic field excursion with the artist and contributors Andrew Patrizio and Veronica Geiger, which takes us into Halperin’s solo exhibition There Is A Volcano Behind My House, Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute.

We encourage listeners to experience it whilst travelling, walking, working or engaging in other armchair expeditions. We recommend listening with headphones.

Commissioned in partnership with Patricia Fleming Gallery and Mount Stuart Trust, with generous support from Creative Scotland.

Credits: Voices of Ilana Halperin, Andrew Patrizio & Veronica Geiger; Sound mix by Kaya Fraser; Mastering by John Harcus; Additional technical support by Charlotte Rogers; Design by After the News

To listen and learn more, go here :


Exhibition at Mount Stuart now online

May 10, 2021 Comments Off on Exhibition at Mount Stuart now online

I am delighted to share the link for Connelly Clark’s beautiful new film on There is a Volcano Behind My House at Mount Stuart – link below…

Detail view of The Library in There is a Volcano Behind My House at Mount Stuart. Photo credit : Keith Hunter Photography for Mount Stuart Trust.

Online exhibition from May 8. Exhibition opens for in person visits to Mount Stuart from June 6 – August 15, 2021



April 30, 2021 Comments Off on ONLINE LAUNCH FOR MOUNT STUART

Join us for the online launch of Ilana Halperin’s new exhibition at Mount Stuart.

About this Event

Continuing Mount Stuart’s ambitious Contemporary Visual Arts Programme this Spring we are delighted to invite you to the online launch of There is a Volcano Behind My House, a large multi-platformed solo exhibition by Scottish based artist Ilana Halperin. The exhibition at Mount Stuart focuses on new sculpture, using materials from the Isle of Bute, limestone from petrifying caves in Saint-Nectaire, France, and Mica from Maine, USA. The artist will also present work following a dynamic partnership with Bute Fabrics, a first for our Visual Arts Programme.

Join us on zoom with artist Ilana Halperin and Director of our Visual Arts Programme Sophie Crichton Stuart to watch a short film, by Connolly Clark Films, which explores the exhibition at Mount Stuart and the island that has inspired these new works. 

Following the screening there will be a short Q&A with Ilana and Sophie giving the audience an opportunity to delve deeper into the film. 

Register to join us on 8 May.


FOSSIL in print…

March 9, 2021 § Leave a comment

I am pleased to announce the publication of FOSSIL, which recently launched with Lost Rocks, as part of the 2021 Printed Matter Virtual Art Book Fair.

FOSSIL is part of Lost Rocks…

Lost Rocks (2017–21) is a conceptual artwork by A published Event (Justy Phillips & Margaret Woodward) in collaboration with 43 collaborating artists from Australia, UK, Europe, Canada, India and the United States.

A five-year slow-publishing library of absent geologies, Lost Rocks (2017–21) invents a unique taxonomy of mineralogical, metaphysical and metallurgical telling through 41 paperback ‘fictiōnellas’.

At the conceptual heart of this ambitious project sits a discarded Tasmanian geological specimen board, 41 of its 56 rocks are missing. This project seeks to replace the missing rocks, not with geological specimens, but ‘fictionellas’ — processual ‘telling events’.

Each Lost Rocks (2017–21) fictiōnella is published in a limited edition of 300  – an alchemical network of artists, readers and lovers of absence re-composed.

Listen to artists Ilana Halperin and Justy Phillips talk about grief and other felt things through Ilana’s fictiōnella, Fossil (2021) :


Learn more about Lost Rocks and buy your copy of FOSSIL here:


CRYSTAL CLEAR opens at Pera Museum

January 5, 2021 § Leave a comment

Crystal Clear

Pera Museum. Istanbul

22 December 2020 – 07 March 2021


Curated by Elena Sorokina, the exhibition features the artists Sammy Baloji, Minia Biabiany, Katinka Bock, Bianca Bondi, Gaelle Choisne, Sinem Dişli, Kıymet Daştan, Elmas Deniz, Gluklya (Natalia Pershina-Yakimanskaya), Deniz Gül, Ilana Halperin in collaboration with Knitstanbul, Gülsün Karamustafa, Yazan Khalili, Paul Maheke, Şener Özmen, İz Öztat, Hale Tenger, Güneş Terkol, Berkay Tuncay and Adrien Vescovi.

Ranging from almost perfect transparency to complete opacity, crystals have been used in all areas of human activity, from science to magic, from technology to healing. Scientists typically describe crystals as “growing”, even though in their eyes they are not alive. Many living organisms, such as mollusks, are able to produce crystals. In ancestral cultures, crystals and minerals are regarded as sentient. Indeed, they constitute a perfect example of the fluid and porous boundaries between the animate and inanimate, organic and inorganic. Taking crystals and their vibrant matter as a point of departure, the exhibition Crystal Clear goes beyond their emblematic use. Rather it aims to develop a contained ecosystem with diverse entanglements of the production, display, and recycling of the artistic, curatorial, and institutional work, material and immaterial. 

In collaboration with all the participating artists, Crystal Clear devises methods and tools for sustainable curating, going beyond just thinking about ecology or sustainability, but rather inventing and enacting principles allowing the reduction of the carbon footprint of exhibition making: radical limits on the shipping of objects, local collaborative production of exhibited work, creative recycling strategies, and extremely reduced travel for all the participants.

Conceived long before the advent of Covid-19 pandemic, the project was already developing models of programmatic changes for exhibition production. Interested in the imperfect contaminated transparencies of crystals and opacities of the soil, the project’s pre-Covid stage critically intersected with ideas from two books, “Down to Earth” by Bruno Latour and “The Transparency Society” by Byung-Chul Han. Today anyone can obtain information about anything. Everything—and everyone—has become transparent, unveiled and exposed. Yet transparency has its dark side and can turn into opacity, without us even noticing it.

But the pandemic shifted and bent many of our initial questions, which moved en masse into public discussions, getting new perspectives and points of view. Working through today’s Covid conditions, Crystal Clear offers the artists the possibility of engaging with these and other current mutations of our environment, seen through the crystalline optics.

FELT EVENTS forthcoming from Strange Attractor/MIT Press…

January 5, 2021 § Leave a comment

Ilana Halperin: Felt Events

Edited by Catriona McAra


Ilana Halperin (b.1973) is an artist who shares her birthday with an Icelandic volcano. Working through the aesthetics of geology since the late 1990s, her multifaceted, conceptual practice unearths the intimate poetics of rocks, minerals, and body stones. Halperin’s fieldwork has led her from erupting volcanoes in Hawaii to petrifying caves in France and geothermal springs in Japan. Felt Events surveys the last two decades of Halperin’s output (1999–2020), representing a mid-career moment of reflection.

Felt Events includes critical and experimental writing from international curators, Lisa Le Feuvre and Naoko Mabon, art historians Andrew Patrizio and Dominic Paterson, anthropologist Jerry Zee, and writer Nicola White. It also offers examples of Halperin’s performance lectures, some of which appear in print for the first time.

This collection introduces Halperin’s work to new generations of artists, writers, and environmental activists—those who will shape the critical landscapes of the twenty-first century.

Excerpts from The Library : Patricia Fleming, Glasgow

May 2, 2020 § Leave a comment


My Conglomerate Family. Watercolour and graphite on Fabriano. 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Patricia Fleming, Glasgow

“A conglomerate is a sedimentary rock composed of many different kinds of rocks naturally bound together. A family, just like a rock, can be composed of many parts.

I’ve always thought and felt that in death and raw catastrophe there is no place for metaphor. A small volcanic eruption like the nightly displays of lava which appear as the sun sets on the island of Stromboli are often likened to a coffee percolator, as the eruptions are so harmless and predictable. It is known as the ‘lighthouse of the Mediterranean’ for its daily beacon of molten red, but when Mount Pele erupted in 1903, within minutes 28,000 people died in the city of Saint Pierre on the island of Martinique. In this, what language is useful – only incomprehensible grief, memorials after the catastrophe, and if appropriate, reflection on the reason for mass death, in that case – namely that though the volcano was increasingly violent and erratic in the days leading up to the eruption, local politicians refused to let people evacuate from the island due to upcoming elections they hoped to win. There were only three survivors of the eruption in Saint Pierre – a cobbler, a convict saved by the thick walls of his cell and a young girl.

Around the world, the potentially catastrophic eruption of the virus had been rumbling and worse for months. Wuhan, Lombardy, Tokyo Bay, Washington State, off the coast of California, New Rochelle, London. Countless simultaneous tremors signalling a violent eruption was coming closer. With one ear to the ground, listening to this seismic horror unfold, I feel rage. Adrenaline courses through my veins, it pumps through my body like liquid fire. One government after another ignoring the signs, ignoring the tsunami of death that has travelled incrementally across the surface of the earth as easily as day shifting to night. As easily as flying across the Atlantic into summer daybreak, where the sunrise extends for hours. But this is not beautiful like a sunrise. This is monstrous, needless, mass death.

I read a very helpful article that said during the first few weeks of a lock down, it is ok if your mind doesn’t work, if you can’t think, can’t be productive, can only focus on very simple tasks. This is because the world has changed, that everything is now different. It explains during this period of adjustment, you may find you can only focus on doing everything you can to secure the safety and health of everyone you love, and that once their safety and security are in place, that you will be surprised to find that your mind slowly comes back to life, becomes more capable of complex thoughts and responses. 

I keep trying to find the right words. How to articulate something so horrific. A few doors down, a paediatric doctor is sick at home; in a retirement home up the block people are dying; my brother in law is a carer and has been told he can’t bring masks to work because they are not ‘approved’ but no other masks are provided. Across the ocean, my younger sister is indefinitely locked in her apartment in Brooklyn; near my elementary school on the field in Central Park where we had our annual Field Day, there is now a field hospital run by homophobic zealots; and my mother in Maine who is totally dependent on a small team of carers, is in the middle of a deep health crisis, very far from me. 

Is that why in my mind I keep ending up in the corner of the living room where I grew up, sitting on the floor by my parents record player. Dappled light filters through the window, vivid green plants with long boughs and shoots fill the window sill, planters crowd the floor. I am playing my parents records – Janis Joplin, Simon & Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell. But the record that is on is scratched, it keeps jumping back to the same place – not safe, not safe, not safe…

One piece for the show that would have opened this week at Patricia Fleming, Glasgow is called My Conglomerate Family. It is a watercolour of a collection of rocks, each rock is a stand in for someone that is part of my family by choice. Then, when I made it – before the pandemic, I had been imagining and trying to conjure more expansive ways of thinking about my own family, from very deep time family lines drawn in the calcium carbonate of our teeth and bones, to more immediate alternative families based not only on blood, but on how we choose each other, how we love each other, who and how we support one another. Conglomerates held together by feeling. And now, in some ways, we are part of an international conglomerate, intrinsically bound together by the virus. Invisible glue, holding everyone together in a shared catastrophe. 

I hope we can be bound together by our urgent sense of humanity.”

Ilana Halperin, Sakurajima (October 31st, 2019) I, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Patricia Fleming, Glasgow

Ilana Halperin’s practice of intertwining intimate geologic narratives with human histories and lived experience is reflected in this body of work that combines drawing, photography and sculpture. Through exploring geologic timelines – both ancient and newly formed – Halperin uncovers deep and personal connections between people and the places they inhabit.

As Halperin has expressed, “Rocks are really the first immigrants”. As an immigrant herself – a New Yorker who now lives and works between Glasgow and the Isle of Bute – Halperin views her own movements as a fleeting, yet significant continuation of a much older migratory tradition. In turn Halperin’s work exists as an evolving embodiment of geologic and human migration.

Drawing and painting are constant studio-based occupations for Halperin. In this new watercolour series each rock is a portrait of either herself or a loved one. As she describes “One piece for the exhibition is called ‘My Conglomerate Family’. It is a watercolour of a collection of rocks, each rock is a stand in for someone that is part of my family by choice. Then, when I made it – before the pandemic, I had been imagining and trying to conjure more expansive ways of thinking about my own family, from very deep time family lines drawn in the calcium carbonate of our teeth and bones, to more immediate alternative families based not only on blood, but on how we choose each other, how we love each other, who and how we support one another. Conglomerates held together by feeling.”

Halperin often uses 35mm and 120mm film to capture the process of making and to record fieldwork in remote geologic locations. The new photographic works ‘Sakurajima (October 31st, 2019) I-V’ were taken at Sakurajima Volcano on the Japanese island of Kyushu, during fieldwork, not far from where volcanologists Maurice and Katia Krafft were killed during a pyroclastic eruption of Mount Unzen in 1991. This series of photographs acknowledges the myriad ways in which the pioneering couple have continually inspired the artist, who has been following in their volcanic footsteps for over 20 years.

In ‘Excerpts from the Library’, a collection of 800 million year old layered mineral ‘books’ of mica, sourced in a legendary tourmaline mine in New England and in Inverness-shire, serve both as a series of sculptural trace fossils, and as a record of the artist’s journey back and forth across the Atlantic. Halperin’s sculptures are experimental in nature, often mirroring earth processes through their formation. As such, the outcome is never certain.

Ilana Halperin – Excerpts from the Library / 1 – 24 May 2020 / Online Exclusive


Mount Stuart : There is a Volcano Behind my House

February 18, 2020 § Leave a comment

Contemporary Visual Arts Programme – Ilana Halperin: There Is A Volcano Behind My House

With a heavy heart : There is a Volcano Behind my House at Mount Stuart is postponed until 2021. Art out in the wide world will be waiting for us, but for now it’s time to all help eachother by staying in. Sending safety, health and my warmest regards…

Performances: Postponed until 2021…

“The first time I visited Mount Stuart, many years ago, I was struck by the deep geologic nature of the house, from the core samples of marble which travelled up from Sicily – immigrant rocks settled in their new home; to the petrified seas found in the fossil rich limestone of the vast stairwell in the Great Hall. It was as if the house itself was an Anthropocene phenomena, among the many geologic wonders one could encounter on the island.” Ilana Halperin

Mount Stuart Trust is delighted to announce a solo exhibition by Ilana Halperin this spring. The artist will create works inspired by the geology of the island of Bute where she now spends much of her time. Situated throughout the house, four distinct yet contiguous series of sculptures, works on paper and textile will reference ‘immigrant’ minerals embedded in the fabric of the building, as well as geologic phenomena found on the island. Halperin describes this work as a constellation combining personal, poetic and corporeal responses to the house and island.

Carefully situated in the heart of the house, Halperin’s watercolours form the key and the foundation to her works at Mount Stuart. Increasingly complex in form and palette, they represent the processes of formation, erosion and growth throughout the years and the seasons. They include references to the Suidhe, the volcano of the exhibition title, which sits behind Halperin’s home on Bute, and the Highland Boundary Fault Line, which bisects the island, and binds two migratory landmasses together.

The exhibition references the materials found within the built fabric of Mount Stuart, for instance the shimmering Mica on the ceiling of the Drawing Room. Sourcing mica which ranges in age from 400 – 800 hundred million years old from Maine, Massachusetts and near Contin in Invernesshire, Halperin will exhibit laser etched ‘books’ of Mica alongside research, archival material and contemporary critique. She explores the relationship between industrial and natural processes and reflects on the heritage of the Victorian brick works, which once operated on the island. Continuing her work with the longstanding Fontaines Pétrifiantes de Saint-Nectaire in France, she has submitted a series of eroded bricks and Victorian drainage tiles to the same process that forms stalactites in caves, or indeed in more domestic settings such as within the Mount Stuart Boathouse. The relationship between deep time, memory and the domestic, is echoed in the display of these objects throughout the various spaces in the house.

Textile, through the weaving of warp and weft, is constructed, like geology, of strata. Halperin has worked in conjunction with island-based designer and producer Bute Fabrics to make two textile works to be displayed in the domestic interior of the Mount Stuart Family and Horoscope Bedrooms. The works are woven on a jacquard loom and make a gesture to temporarily replace a lost historical fabric work. The textile works make homage to the particular colour palette of the island, the shades of sea, rock and hill.

It is important to note that Ilana Halperin’s works are discreetly autobiographical in nature. Her exhibition works hold a story, enhanced in her performative talks. To this end, she will undertake two performative talks in a special island location combining the voices of her personal volcanic field notes with material from the Mount Stuart Archive. For these performances Halperin will be joined by Andrew Patrizio, Professor of Scottish Visual Culture at the University of Edinburgh.

Ilana Halperin was born in New York in 1973. She is currently based between Glasgow and the Isle of Bute. Her work explores the relationship between geology and daily life. She combines fieldwork in diverse locations – on volcanoes in Hawaii, caves in France, geothermal springs in Japan – and in museums, archives and laboratories, with an active studio-based practice. Her work has featured in solo exhibitions worldwide including Berliner Medizinhistorisches Museum der Charité, Artists Space in New York and the Manchester Museum. She was the Inaugural Artist Fellow at National Museums Scotland and Artist-Curator of Geology for Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery. The Library of Earth Anatomy, a permanent commission at The Exploratorium in San Francisco opened in 2017. Schering Stiftung, Berlin has published a monograph on her work entitled New Landmass. Currently, she is exploring the Karst landscapes of Yamaguchi Prefecture in Japan for The Rock Cycle, an interlinked project between Akiyoshidai Natural History Museum, Akiyoshidai International Artist Village and Pier Arts Centre Orkney. Her recent solo exhibition Minerals of New York opened at Leeds Arts University, and then toured to The Hunterian in 2019.

Her upcoming exhibition at Patricia Fleming Gallery Excerpts from the Library runs during Glasgow International Festival 24 April to 10 May as part of its Across The City programme. Excerpts From The Library and There Is A Volcano Behind My House bring together an expansive new body of work by the artist on both sites.

Halperin is represented by Patricia Fleming, Glasgow.

Image Credit: Ilana Halperin, ‘Excerpts from the Library’, 2020 (detail) 400 million year old book of laser etched mica. Made in collaboration with Dundee Contemporary Arts Print Studio. Courtesy of the artist and Patricia Fleming, Glasgow.



December 12, 2019 § Leave a comment

Ilana Halperin:

The Rock Cycle (Yamaguchi)

A cross-disciplinary project between Yamaguchi and Scotland

自然科学 × 現代美術 リサーチとアウトリーチによる



Curated by Naoko Mabon

Through the lens of Yamaguchi and Scotland, The Rock Cycle (Yamaguchi) considers new ways of imagining our relationship to the natural world. This project draws inspiration from the rock cycle, a geological concept that describes how rocks change from one type to another through geologic time. Each chapter within the project represents a different stage within the cycle, though a subtle artistic intervention introduces the idea of ‘life’ – or a biological stage in the process. Through the project we ask: what might shift in our understanding of and relationship with Akiyoshidai, and with geology and geological time as a whole, if we imagine ourselves both poetically and materially as part of the rock cycle? For example, can we begin to consider ourselves as part of a deep time calcium carbonate family tree – from Fusulina, to coral, to our bones and teeth? Building on a two-week research residency in 2018 hosted by Akiyoshidai International Art Village, Glasgow-based artist Ilana Halperin has developed a new cross-disciplinary project between Scotland and Japan with Scotland-based curator Naoko Mabon. The exhibition will tour to the Pier Arts Centre in Orkney in 2020. There, Halperin’s new body of work featuring material unique to Yamaguchi and to the geological and archaeological context of Orkney will be exhibited, in conversation with thematically resonant works by Yamaguchi-based artists Yoshihisa Nakano and Keijiro Suzuki.

The Rock Cycle (Yamaguchi) is an official event of ‘Japan Season of Culture in the UK’, and an affiliate programme of ‘UK in JAPAN 2019-20’.

Installation views at Akiyoshi-dai Museum of Natural History and Akiyoshidai International Art Village

Photo credit: Michihiro Ota


Akiyoshi-dai Museum of Natural History


Akiyoshidai International Art Village

‘Karstar’ The Mine-Akiyoshidai Karst Plateau Geopark Center

SCOTTISH EXHIBITION AND PUBLIC EVENT: Autumn 2020 at Pier Arts Centre, Orkney


Akiyoshidai Academic Centre, Yamaguchi University | Research Laboratory of Professor Yoshihisa Nakano, Department of Art, Faculty of Education, Yamaguchi University


Akiyoshi-dai Museum of Natural History | Akiyoshidai International Art Village | ‘Karstar’ The Mine-Akiyoshidai Karst Plateau Geopark Center | N3 ART Lab | Yamaguchi Institute of Contemporary Arts | Matsu no Yu, Kibetani Onsen, Shimane | Meizengama Pottery Studio | Ando Quarry Ltd., | Naganobori Copper Mine Cultural Exchange Centre | Nagasawa Clay Ltd., | Chijimatsu Washi Workshop | Mine Seiryo High School | be Art Shop | Michiko Fukuda, Freelance Project Manager | Takashi Murakami, Vice President, Speleological Society of Japan | Pier Arts Centre, Orkney | Dundee Contemporary Arts Print Studio, Dundee | Graphical House, Glasgow | Patricia Fleming, Glasgow


Mine City | Mine City Board of Education | British Council


Akiyoshidai Academic Centre, Yamaguchi University | Creative Scotland, Edinburgh | The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, London | Pier Arts Centre, Orkney



July 4, 2019 § Leave a comment

Opening at The Hunterian on Friday, July 12th!

‌‌‌Ilana Halperin is an artist who lives and works between Glasgow and the Isle of Bute. Her practice often explores the relationship between geology and everyday life. For example, Halperin shares her birthday with the Eldfell volcano in Iceland, and returns once a decade to spend time with the volcano on significant occasions.

Her latest project takes her back to New York, her childhood home, through a ‘mineral biography of the city’ which takes shape across a range of media, including drawings, photographs, objects, and a 35mm slide show.

At the project’s heart is a piece of garnetiferous gneiss, excavated from beneath the street which Halperin grew up on – a point of connection between her biography, that of the modern city, and the deep geological time that shaped it. 

‌Alongside her new project Minerals of New York, The Hunterian will exhibit a number of Halperin’s works from its own collection which relate to her ongoing interest in the Eldfell volcano.

This work was produced for a recent solo exhibition at Leeds Arts University, and is on view for the first time in Scotland.

‌Minerals of New York is at the Hunterian Art Gallery from 13 July – 13 October 2019. Open Tuesday – Saturday 10.00am – 5.00pm and Sunday 11.00am – 4.00pm. Admission is free.