Rachel Rose: Wil-o-Wisp The Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media Erica F. Battle, Erika Balson

Publication date:
27 Nov 2018
Yale University Press
80 pages: 229 x 178mm
50 color illus.
Sales territories:


Presenting an ambitious new project by Rachel Rose (b. 1986) commissioned jointly by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, this book offers a rare behind-the-scenes perspective on one of the most striking emerging voices in contemporary art. In the commissioned work, titled Wil-o-Wisp, Rose has created a fictional narrative set in 16th-century agrarian England. Following the life of a healer—whose fate is marked by love and loss, the practice of magic, and the consequence of persecution—the work ruminates on the ways that perception and coincidence affect our experience in the world. This intimate look into Rose’s creative process highlights the artist’s interest in storytelling, scene-setting, and visual effects by including storyboards, production stills, script excerpts, and on-set photography. In a new interview, Rose discusses the core concepts behind this work and offers a revelatory firsthand account of how the commission evolved from conception to realization. 

Erica F. Battle is the John Alchin and Hal Marryatt Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art. Erika Balsom is senior lecturer in film studies at King’s College London.