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Magic and coincidence in 1500s rural EnglandA striking voice in contemporary art, Rachel Rose creates video installations that ruminate on our image-saturated culture and histories of the past. She is the first recipient of the Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media, which supports innovative new work in video, film, performance, and sound by emerging artists. For her commissioned video, Wil-o-Wisp, Rose trains her lens on a tumultuous moment in history: England in the late 1500s. Wil-o-Wisp explores how the practice of magic and coincidence influence the fate of a woman named Elspeth Blake. Rose frames her story against the backdrop of England’s Enclosure Movement, which privatized communal land and spurred violent upheavals in agrarian life. Rose models the chapters of Elspeth’s life after accounts of healers persecuted for their practices, which were considered deviant and threatening within increasingly regulated society. Weaving together the harsh realities of the rural English landscape with ghostly sprites and the ethereal forces of magic, Rose questions how our perceptions of the world, and of others, can so radically change within the fluctuating norms of society and the seismic shifts of history. Learn more about the Future Fields Commission >>
In 2016 the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo established the Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media as a collaborative initiative to jointly commission and acquire new work by artists who are active in video, film, performance, and sound. The commission supports the creation and production of a new work every two years that will be presented at both the Museum and the Fondazione. With its unique focus and commitment to the joint acquisition of the works, the commission aims to give unprecedented opportunities to international artists who are exploring new territory in these experimental modes of contemporary art. Rachel Rose is the inaugural recipient of the Future Fields Commission. Her work Wil-o-Wisp will have its first international presentation at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, Italy, in November 2018.
Artist Rachel Rose, 2018. Photograph by Landon Nordeman