Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva, Making Beauty, Djanogly Gallery, Nottingham Lakeside Arts

This August, Djanogly Gallery unveils Making Beauty: a large-scale presentation of work by Macedonian-born artist Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva. Comprising two of the artist’s seminal installations, Haruspex and Fragility, this is the first major solo exhibition of her work in the UK, and will also feature new projects produced during a year-long collaboration with UK medial research departments. Curated by Neil Walker, the show has been realised with the support of independent curator Gill Hedley and the NIHR Nottingham Digestive Diseases Biomedical Research Unit.

Spanning the disciplines of sculpture, installation, video, photography and architectural intervention, Hadzi-Vasileva’s wide-ranging practice incorporates ephemeral, perishable and precious materials; often transforming mundane surfaces into intricate and grandiose environments that reflect upon a series of historic, geographic and cultural contexts. Haruspex (2015), which has its UK premiere at Djanogly Gallery, was originally commissioned for the Vatican Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale and responds to a key scriptural text. Constructed from meat industry waste products, the installation’s central point, a chalice-like form, is made from a cow’s stomach.

On display in the accompanying spaces is a re-staging of Fragility (2015), which was first installed at Fabrica in Brighton. Hadzi-Vasileva employs the gallery architecture, elements of light and an animal membrane to explore the phenomenon of near-death experiences. New additions to the artist’s oeuvre include output from a collaborative period with digestive disease specialists at the University College Hospital (London), University of East Anglia (Norwich) and University of Nottingham. Supported by an arts grant from the Wellcome Trust, the project has produced sculptural and sound pieces that draw inspiration from research into regenerative medicine.

Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva, Making Beauty, 20 August – 30 October, Djanogly Gallery, Nottingham Lakeside Arts.

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1. Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva, Fragility, 2015. Courtesy of the artist.