Elizabeth McAlpine at Laura Bartlett

I visited the Laura Bartlett Gallery last week to see Liz McAlpine's show 'Flatland'. I was welcomed in even though I turned up on a day that the gallery was closed and greeted with silent projectors . These were swiftly turned on.


For me, the most engaging aspect of the show were the machines and their setup. A tower of projectors placed in prime sight at the convergence of a narrowing entrance hall, drew one in for closer inspection. The projected image held little allure against the rig of the machines. Downstairs in a basement two projectors side by side projected 2 frames of a piece of string drawn horizontally across the middle of each, not quite lining up. I understand through the text that this tension was deliberate, but I couldn't help being irked by the fact that the first frame was a different size to the second and so my belief that this tension existed was somehow dispelled as I could see the unravelling of this construct.

What did make me smile though was that even through the obvious containment of film within a sculptural context (the fact that the projectors were left to whir away in these white rooms and you the viewer where meant to enter and leave but always be presented with this object, silently always producing its reason for being) did start to revolt. One projector was jumping and clattering, getting louder, and a frame of film was burnt onto the bulb of one of the 'Tilt (in 6 parts)' frames, so burnt acetate was a constant image.

This is an interesting show and a reminder that the beauty of super 8 lies in it's fragility and spontaneity.

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