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Ilana Halperin / An Infernal Dinner Party 5 / Etching

Ilana Halperin / An Infernal Dinner Party 5 / Etching


Autographic Etching on Fabriano Artistico (640gsm) paper. Each print individually hand-coloured by the artist with watercolour.

42.4 x 30 cm

Unique Multiple

Edition of 5


Ilana Halperin’s hand-coloured etchings produced in collaboration with the DCA Print Studio belong to a separate artist’s book project The Infernal Dinner Party, commissioned by Alchemy at the Manchester Museum, University of Manchester and the Arts Council of England.


The book presents an essay by Karen Holmberg that imagines divinities of Greek mythology together with an Hawaiian goddess, a medieval monster, and two geologists, Sir William Hamilton and Athanasius Kirchner, in a banquet held in a deep-sea, volcanic vent. At this bacchanal spectacle the guests tell literary and geological stories and curious anecdotes around the disastrous eruptions of Vesuvius, in 79 AD, and Krakatoa in 1883. They refer to horrifying pictures which appear in Frankenstein’s book The Modern Prometheus or Hieronymus Bosch’s allegoric oeuvre until they arrive at the conclusion ‘The earth is unthinkable, untamable, an impossible wildness’.


This suite of five copper plate etchings are based on the study of crystallisation and trace fossils. The objects of study were found in the Natural History collection of the Manchester Museum during a Research Fellowship Halperin was undertaking. Two of these etchings, one from the study of crystallisation and one from a study of trace fossils, were amalgamated to create a collage. This collage was then transformed into a 3D model and used to generate a natural rubber mould that was then placed in the Fontaines Pétrifiantes de Saint Nectaire to create new works, the 'Physical Geology' cave casts.

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