Rachel Rose: In Between the Sublime and the Everyday

Rachel Rose: In Between the Sublime and the Everyday

Rachel Rose, Wil-o-Wisp (still), 2018.

Rachel Rose: In Between the Sublime and the Everyday
Screening and conversation

Admission starts at $5

February 13, 2024, 7pm
172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Join us at e-flux Screening Room on Tuesday, February 13 at 7pm for a rare screening of film and video works by Rachel Rose followed by a discussion with the artist.

The work of Rachel Rose explores how our changing relationship to landscape has shaped storytelling and belief systems. Rose’s films draw from, and contribute to, the long history of cinematic innovation. Whether investigating cryogenics, the American Revolutionary War, or an astronaut’s space walk, Rose directs our attention to sites and histories in which the sublime and the everyday blur. She translates this in her paintings, sculptures, and drawings, which materially reverberate with one another, connecting the immediate to deep time.


Sitting Feeding Sleeping (2013, 10 minutes)
For Rose’s first video installation and moving-image work, the artist shot footage at a cryogenics lab researching life after death, a robotics perception lab, and zoos across America. Through these sites, Rose reflects upon twenty-first-century conceptions of mortality, likening artificial means of prolonging human, animal, and machine life. In doing so, the artist recognizes in each a common stasis or limbo between being alive and dead—in her own words, a “deathfulness” created by scientific design. Counter to the imagery of these places and their clinical implications, Rose’s voiceover in Sitting Feeding Sleeping is poetic, intimate, and personally reflective of her subject matter. Rose’s use of editing—collaging filmed and found footage, distorting audio and image—is emblematic of the filmic techniques she further refines in subsequent works.

A Minute Ago (2014, 10 minutes)
A Minute Ago begins with a hailstorm smashing suddenly onto a quiet beach in Siberia. Set to a recording of Pink Floyd playing in Pompeii’s empty amphitheater—a concert to the dead within a ruin—half-naked beach-goers roll by seeking shelter under towels and umbrellas. The next scene replicates an interview filmed ten years ago inside of Philip Johnson’s Glass House. Johnson was then in his early nineties. He’s here now as a blip, interrupting the sheen of high-resolution, moving to the rhythm of a Steve Reich piece composed only of taps on wood. The house is surrounded by wood, yet contains none. The house is then bombarded by the beach’s hailstorm as the sound reverses into a live concert overtaken by cheers and screams. Under sutured footage of real rainstorms, the house collapses. Johnson has said that the Glass House was inspired by a burnt-out village, where nothing was left but brick floors and chimneys. He said he slipped a steel cage with a glass skin over a platform of brick. Others have said that the house is a monument to its own inevitable ruin. The Glass House holds within it only one image—the painting The Funeral of Phocion by Poussin, showing a dead body traversing a cultivated landscape to its burial. 

Everything and More (2015, 12 minutes)
Everything and More is structured around an interview Rose conducted with former NASA astronaut David Wolf, in which he describes returning to earth after a prolonged time working on the Mir space station. Interested in exploring how a variety of moving and still images can be brought together to address unwieldy concerns like mortality, history, and the environment, the work combines multiple sources of footage and audio to investigate how our experience of the “infinite” is only possible through our human limits. Filmed in a neutral buoyancy lab, the camera repeatedly closes in on the inside of an astronaut’s helmet, each time merging into footage of crowds at Electronic Dance Music (EDM) concerts and close-ups of homemade “liquid abstractions” that the artist concocted from domestic materials such as milk, water, oil, and food dye that allude to cosmic vistas. Melding musical transcendence and the infinity of outer space through a fluid treatment of source material, Rose finds commonality among seemingly divergent sound and imagery, combining the physical toll of space travel with the ethereal sublime and euphoric out-of-body collective experience. 

Lake Valley (2016, 8 minutes)
Lake Valley is a cel animated video set in an imagined suburb. Each frame is a composite of elements from nineteenth- and twentieth-century children’s book illustrations, cut, layered, and re-mapped for the present day. The suburban places encountered in the video—the house, the parking lot, the park—are familiar, and not. There is a simultaneity of past and present in all surfaces of the video—a plastic garbage bag is an illustration of a woman’s hair, an egg shell is an amalgam of dragon skin, cobble stones, and beer. The story of Lake Valley follows an imagined pet as it seeks attention on one particularly lonely day. The pet leaves its family in search of connection in the nearby green. The narrative is rooted in the theme of abandonment that permeates childhood in children’s literature. Abandonment, like a suburban house, is a relatively ordinary experience sustained by everyday routines and anxieties. 

Wil-o-Wisp (2018, 10 minutes)
Wil-o-Wisp follows Elspeth Blake, a healer and a mystic, across three decades of transformation in seventeenth-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: channeling 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 landscape into what would become modern industrialized 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. 

For more information, contact program [​at​] e-flux.com.

– Two flights of stairs lead up to the building’s front entrance at 172 Classon Avenue.
– For elevator access, please RSVP to program@e-flux.com. The building has a freight elevator which leads into the e-flux office space. Entrance to the elevator is nearest to 180 Classon Ave (a garage door). We have a ramp for the steps within the space.
– e-flux has an ADA-compliant bathroom. There are no steps between the Screening Room and this bathroom.

Video Art, Landscape, Sublime, Immortality, Everyday Life, Outer Space, Storytelling, Death

Rachel Rose lives and works in New York. Her recent solo exhibitions include: GL STRAND, Copenhagen (2023); SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe (2023); Gladstone Gallery, Seoul (2023); CC Strombeek, Strombeek (2022); Pond Society, Shanghai (2020); Lafayette Anticipations, Paris (2020); Fridericianum, Kassel (2019); LUMA Foundation, Arles (2019); Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia (2018); Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin (2018); Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz (2017); Museu Serralves, Porto (2016); The Aspen Art Museum, Aspen (2016); The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2015); Serpentine Gallery, London (2015); and Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2015). Recent and upcoming group exhibitions include: Fondation Beyeler, Basel (2024); START Museum, Shanghai (2024); ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Denmark (2023); Yuz Museum, Shanghai (2023); Centre d’Art Contemporain Geneva, Geneva (2023); Galleria Nazionale, Rome (2023); 3rd Jeju Biennale (2022); 9th Beijing Biennale (2022); The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2022); Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis (2022); Schinkel Pavilion, Berlin (2021); Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, US (2021); Artspace, Sydney (2021); Art Sonje Center, Seoul (2021); A Tale of A Tub, Tlön Projects, Rotterdam (2021); Power Station of Art, Shanghai (2020); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2018); Carnegie International, 57th Edition, Pittsburgh (2018); 57th Venice Biennale (2017); 32nd São Paudalo Biennial (2016); Hayward Gallery, London (2016); and Okayama Art Summit, Japan (2016). She is the recipient of the Future Fields Award and the Frieze Artist Award.

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