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Elizabeth McAlpine

  • Art, Sculpture
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

British artist Elizabeth McAlpine is known for her labor-intensive reworkings of appropriated feature footage, but here she weaves her own films and a group of photo-sculptures into a poetic mapping of the urban landscape.

Each sculpture consists of a single sheet of exposed photo paper, folded into a simple three-dimensional shape, mounted onto a supporting steel plate with magnets. The images, contact-printed on both sides, derive from rubbings the artist makes of sidewalks. The results would almost be too elegant, if not for the way her photos droop or curl away from their backings.

The same subject also stars in McAlpine’s two looped short films. In one, an assistant “plays” the cracks in a sidewalk by dragging a large metal needle (topped with an amplifying cone) along them, like grooves in a record. In the second, McAlpine animates rubbings of pavement, whose textures race past to mesmerizing, abstract effect.

McAlpine focuses on her materials’ physical properties—light, paper, magnets, concrete—while taking into account more subjective decisions: where to fold a photograph, where to place a magnet and where to take the next step.

—Anne Doran


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