Rachel Rose’s exhibition transforms Lafayette Anticipations into a shadowed labyrinth, its darkness mitigated by videos casting light on the soft pile carpet that covers the floor of the galleries and brushes against the skin of seated viewers. Bodies, their very (im)materiality and presence, are inherently part of Rose’s molecular and technological field of vision. Governed by impermanence, our ever-shifting corporeality structures her sculptural and moving image works.
The show begins with the “Borns,” 2019, a series of sculptures in which glass and rock—both made of silica, but formed on vastly different geological timelines—embrace each other like mother and child. It then unfolds on multiple floors, moving from darkness into the blinding light of the upper gallery and its giant LED screen, on which plays Everything and More, 2015, an interview with astronaut David Wolf about his experience of anti-gravity in outer space and his subsequent descent back to Earth: “The weight of the human body is overwhelming, even my ears felt heavy on my head.”
What ultimately emerges from these ruminations, as well as those on abandonment and childhood in Lake Valley, 2016, hallucinatory re-embodiments Autoscopic Egg, 2017, or the human obsession with immortality as pictured in Sitting Feeding Sleeping, 2013, is a permanent state of melancholy. In Autoscopic Egg, twin performances by Fred Astaire are projected through and inverted by a large resin egg. Set to a looped Justin Timberlake refrain, the work is an affective caesura in the show, a moment of ease and respite akin to the carefree but isolated figure dancing ad infinitum. In birth, death, and every state in between, we remain alone.