RACHEL WILBERFORCE lives and works in London , UK . In 2001 she graduated from the University of Central England . Her work has been shown internationally, including: ‘Documentary, Memory and Place’, Format 5, Derby, UK, 2005; Gender Queer/Queer Genders, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA, 2005; ‘Garden’, Castle Vault, Southampton, UK, 2004; ‘Kissing the Mirror’, Raid Projects, Los Angeles, USA, 2004; ‘Deconstruction of Masculinity’ Galleri Valfisken, Sweden, 2004.
'Hope And Glory' explores the tensions between human aspirations and the reality of the world: money, power and corruption. The work explores the harsh realities of modernity: loss of humanity, the price of failure, and the false prospect of fulfillment created by the idealised world projected by the media and government.
Nostalgia, memories of childhood wonderment and the act of remembering are confronted with a world of uncertainty, terror and war. The work addresses issues that point to the commoditisation of individuals and self-image, resulting from a mass manipulation of consciousness, within a media and consumer-dominated culture.
A Hollywood story: young man dreams of movie stardom, of fame, fortune, awards and red carpets. He works hard, works out, moves to LA and he achieves it all… in pornography. But it’s better than no stardom at all.
There is not a single day when we don’t hear that we live in an age of fear and uncertainty; from therapy culture, the Atkins diet and Prozac to the inevitable terrorist attack and weapons of mass destruction. Hollywood regularly cashes in on our dreams offering us its glamour franchise, pharmaceutical companies churn out new drugs, while fashion gurus and plastic surgeons promise a quick fix. It is a billion dollar business thriving on anxiety.
Hope and Glory takes a fascinating, psychological plunge behind the scenes of our panic stricken culture and into anxious minds, questioning who and what is accountable. Putting apprehension on the couch, Rachel Wilberforce asks some much needed questions: Is anxiety about the absence of authority or too much of it? Do the media report on fear or create it? Are drugs a cure for concern or its cause? Is fear about being yourself or someone else? And is uncertainty the ultimate obstacle to happiness?
Hope and Glory is an exhibition about the proximity of one’s desire and hope against the backdrop of contemporary concern exploring issues of identity, ethics, frustration, fear, and vanity.
Rachel Wilberforce’s agile images, both bizarre and gorgeous, deliberately playful, highly polished, wildly colourful, on one level escapist even, contain some degree of fantasy but are never sweet or innocent. Challenging and engaging, the effervescent physicality of Wilberforce's work is the key to its conspicuous power. By presenting images that question what's OK and what's not she breaks Pandora's box wide open.
In ‘Two Lies’ we see two half naked figures lying silent on the grass in a haunted-seeming landscape. Somewhat disturbing and yet beautiful, a peculiar sensation of intimacy throws up questions about the desire for relationship, about troubled identity, morality and the longing for perfection. For a moment we are thrown into limbo, the timeless taboo zone that is imposed upon the viewer by the artist.