4 April - 18 May 2019
Rosie Grace Ward
“…it cannot be long before we lie down in darkness, and have our light in ashes; since the brother of death daily haunts us with dying mementos, and time, that grows old itself, bids us hope no long duration, diuturnity is a dream and folly of expectation”
Sir Thomas Browne, Hydriotaphia, Urne Burial (1658)
We are excited to present Yield, an exhibition by Rosie Grace Ward. A gothic landscape filled with superstition and residual chaos, Yield is a manifestation of the base metaphysical horror of our contemporary moment: that, as Mark Fisher states in Capitalist Realism, “not only is capitalism the only viable political and economic system, but also that it is now impossible even to imagine a coherent alternative to it.”
Merging medieval feudal aesthetics with cyberpunk fiction, Rosie Grace Ward forges a world where hopes for a future are eroded into the faintest possibilities. Dreams of a life beyond the current system are dwindling and futures of our past, born in moments of great technological change and environmental catastrophe, are exhumed and re-packaged. The position Rosie Grace Ward presents in Yield is a ghostly yet insurgent reminder of the sociocultural non-place of 21st century neoliberalism, a world of international monocultures, ambiguous foodstuffs and palm oil.
In Yield, Rosie Grace Ward imagines 50,000 acres of agrarian terrain, property of a fictional agricultural conglomerate ‘NPN’- the world’s leading multinational for crop management forged in a merger of Nestlé, PepsiCo and Nutrien - blazing in the thick summer night sky. In an escalation of the contemporary industrial practices, NPN (whose logo adorns Ward’s sculptural interventions) engineer a single crop seed, designed never to adapt or fail, and enforce it on farms worldwide. Locked into a divergent relationship, the farmers’ despair when the crops begin to fail begets a total refusal to comply with the new law of the land. Refusing to succumb to exhaustion and fear, the farmers fight for their survival, straddling worn out quad-bikes and wielding razor-sharp pocket scythes. Whilst fires roar across the farmland, a highly coordinated and networked system of agents cultivate the ruin into a series of monolithic crop circles.
It is the objects of this imagined revolution that litter the gallery space; repurposed agricultural machinery and industrial-sized grain bags filled with earth and religious talismans create an unnerving atmosphere of civil unrest. Extrapolated from historical uprisings like the Peasants Revolt, we are left in the aftermath of an agricultural revolution with the uncanny arrangement of spectral objects that scream their recent history.
Rosie Grace Ward is an artist and writer based in London. Recent exhibitions include Think and Pray For Me, Camberwell Space (2018); Totally Different Animals, Arcadia Missa (2018); The Unlimited Dream Company, Hannah Barry Gallery (2017) and UNIT, CGP London (2016). She was the 2017 recipient of the Vanguard Prize.