Rachel Garfield: The Struggle

19 April – 3 June 2012

Thursday – Sunday, 11am-5pm

Exhibition extended until 23 June, Thurs-Sat Only

Fridays during June: Rachel Garfield at work on site


Exhibition Preview: Wednesday 18 April 6.30-9pm

Click here for special events programmed throughout the exhibition

Click here to download a press release for this project


The show opens with two exhibits: a collaborative film, Here There Then Now, made by Rachel Garfield with the avant-garde filmmaker Stephen Dwoskin in 2009 and The Straggle, the first part of a new series of essay films under the overarching title “The Struggle”. The earlier film introduces territories to be explored: inter-generational ethics, an essayist approach to video montage and personal stories.

During the exhibition, Garfield will be working on the new series, interviewing fresh subjects and editing material already filmed and the show will close with the presentation of new work.

In Here There Then Now we hear Garfield saying “I’m really moved by peoples lives, I’m really moved by peoples’ struggles…” and in The Straggle we meet individuals who grew up in highly politicised family environments, gaining insight as to how a socialist upbringing has impacted on the people they have become. The personal narratives are intercut with idealistic imagery, ranging from book illustrations to cinematic visions of the left-wing narrative and performance by “socialist magician” Ian Saville. 

The new body of work expands on Garfield’s previous preoccupations with relations between social and political spheres and whilst links between ethnicity and ideology are implied, the artist embarks on a longer voyage into some of the big questions that have preoccupied generations straddling two centuries. This exploration of how epochal shifts in thinking might play out now and into the future is a development for which Alain Badiou’s philosophical take on the 20th century, Le Siècle (Seuil, 2005), provides the touchstone.

The Struggle will progress through Garfield’s engagement with people whose identities have been formed in homes where the ethical environment has been dominated by religion and the military. An ongoing residency with Beaconsfield will support the production and opening out of this project beyond the parochialism of London.


If you have been shaped by a political, religious or military upbringing and would like to talk to the artist or be interviewed contact struggle@beaconsfield.p-2.biz

Images: Rachel Garfield, The Struggle, Part 1: The Straggle, video still, image courtesy the artist and Beaconsfield 

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