Rachel Rose – “Wil-o-Wisp” – Pilar Corrias Gallery
Pilar Corrias Gallery presents a new exhibition by Rachel Rose, “Wil-o-Wisp”, her second at the gallery.
Wil-o-Wisp (2018) follows Elspeth Blake, a mystic and healer, across three decades of transformation in 17th century agrarian England. She is first introduced as a wife and mother in 1570, when her daughter, Celestina, sneaks out of the house at night, an act which carries grave consequences. In 1603, Elspeth reemerges as a mystic, healing a man through transference — channelling the life force from one being to another. Spied on by a townsman and reported to the town’s prefect, Elspeth is led away to face persecution.
Through a series of tableaux, we see her life unfold in a world where animism suffused the forest and magic was real. Meanwhile, the process of enclosure — the division of common land — was violently reshaping the land-scape into what would become modern industrialised society. Wil-o-Wisp is the first in a series of filmic works by Rose focusing on this time of radical economic, environmental, and spiritual upheaval.
Three lenses are placed on the carpet, refracting the projected image and recalling the alchemical practices of the time period, as optical effects were thought to have magical properties and were used to conjure visions and make prophesies. The exhibition continues behind the screen with a new sculptural work The Chemical Wed-ding, inspired by the story of the same name, an example of how stories from this time period encoded secret alchemical recipes from the features in their landscapes.
Wil-o-Wisp premiered at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in 2018, where Rose was the inaugural recipient of the Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media.
About Rachel Rose
Rachel Rose (American, born 1986) has had solo exhibitions at Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, US (2018); Fondazione Sandretto, Turin, Italy (2018); Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria (2017); Aspen Art Mu-seum, Aspen, US (2016); Serralves Museum, Porto, Portugal (2016); Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London, UK (2015); and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, US (2015). Her work was included in the Carnegie International (2018), the International Exhibition at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017), and the Sao Paolo Bien-nial (2016). Forthcoming solo exhibitions include the LUMA Foundation, France (2019), and The Park Avenue Armory, New York (2020). Her work has been collected by prominent institutions such as the Tate, London; LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art); Whitney Museum of American Art; and SFMOMA, among others.