Rachel Wilberforce

23 October 2013

The work of Rachel Wilberforce is inspired by Foucault’s concept of heterotopia. In her own words:

“My practice engages the relationship between our interior and exterior worlds and approaches landscape, the body and architecture as interchangeable. In photographing empty spaces or reworking found imagery and objects; I draw from the residual and trace, and issues of memory and transition in detailing its history and presence. These spaces, outside of the ordinary, are linked to Foucault’s concept of ‘heterotopia:’ “something like counter-sites, a kind of effectively enacted utopia in which the real sites… found within the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted… It makes the place that I occupy when I look at myself in the glass at once absolutely real, and absolutely unreal” (1967). Heterotopology introduces a way of reading and diversifying space. Here, with ’temporal discontinuities’ of different aspects of ‘formal’ heterotopias – an heterotopian play of elements, without settling. In our modern life, things can become dislocated, non-fixed and overlooked, and my work attempts to convey this feeling through evoking both a distance and sense of empathy with my subject matter. We can interpret our material world from our imprints and how we project ourselves (some truths some fiction) onto it, and vice versa. In so doing, my work considers the ways we (un)knowingly assimilate, appropriate or reject societal ideologies. In an attempt to reflect on what is revealed, it questions what could or might have been, and what can still be”.

Missing 2007-8, for example,   “focuses on sex establishments as uncanny and liminal spaces, and prostitution as institution. The images are devoid of people and trace in-between the action, and in the aftermath of activities. There is a juxtaposition between the emotional detritus of personal things in a commercial space for buying and selling. The Modernist facades further juxtapose the dream with the reality”.


More recently, The Resort, supreme Point Installation (2013) “building on The Resort series, ‘All That Is Solid Melts Into Air’, a phrase taken from the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, contemplates what is the modern, and the modern versus antiquity. Focusing on the non-fixed and ephemeral nature of modernity, it takes the house as its departure point in presenting sculptural propositions on the artist’s current thinking on the subject. These works will develop as large-scale canvases”.


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