Here and Elsewhere exhibition

Exhibition by Irene Kopelman
July 4th – September 5th, 2021

Here and Elsewhere aims to re-establish our connection with the environment by providing an insight in the dimensions of the earth’s geography. 

Here and Elsewhere is a new sculptural installation by Amsterdam-based artist Irene Kopelman. It seeks to re-establish our connection with the environment by providing an insight into different dimensions of the earth’s geography and our global ecology. The installation is inspired by Kopelman’s ongoing interest in geologic time and scale, and her experience of the outer-space-like landscape of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in the USA. For Here and Elsewhere Kopelman remakes part of this extraordinary landscape and transports the experience of its many dimensions to the urban environment of Amsterdam.

The installation has developed out of research conducted by Kopelman at the border of Utah and Arizona, where the density of Jurassic Navajo Sandstone formations make up stunning sites across Escalante National Monument, and the neighbouring Vermillion Cliffs, Zion National Park and Snow Canyon State Park. The focus of Kopelman’s research was on the innumerable spherical iron concretions (also commonly known as ‘blueberries’ or the ‘Moqui marbles’) that are scattered across the landscape. In order to explore the specific otherworldly feature of these iron concretions, Kopelman collaborated with Professor Marjorie Chan at the University of Utah, a leading researcher in the area.

Here and Elsewhere is a 1:1 replica of the concretions found in an area measured and painstakingly mapped out by the artist during this site visit to Escalante. As an abstraction, the installation is a reconstruction of a selected configuration of concretions, following their exact arrangement and distances in the landscape. Rather than create a realistic diorama of all aspects of this immense landscape, Kopelman has taken the spherical iron concretions as the basis for a sculpture which relates to its most captivating qualities. As such, the artist invites viewers to focus and comprehend the reality of a vast place by entering at the scale of the human body, by looking carefully and thoroughly at one fragment at a time.

Central to Kopelman’s installation is the relationship between geology and sculpture and her interest in material forces, moulding, weight, mass, direction, compression, fractures, and other physical processes and properties that the artist engages with in her work. Kopelman uses clay for her replicas of the iron concretions, a natural material that has its own particular characteristics and the potential to express the many different textures and variations found in the rock surfaces.

The exhibition is supported by Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst and is realised in collaboration with the Amsterdam based keramiekwerkplaats Koloriet.