Choker, Rachel Foullon 7th – 19th October

Launch Pad is delighted to present the third site-specific commission at the home of its founder Sarah Elson.

Brooklyn-based artist Rachel Foullon will create a large wall sculpture inspired by the history of Elson’s house and its vicinity.

For the past decade, Rachel Foullon (b. 1978 Glendale, California) has created a body of work that accesses a collective memory existing within the United States – its history of pioneering farmsteads and the psychological and emotional drives that powered that early westward expansion: the perpetual quest for independence, adventure, prosperity, and property ownership. Like the early settlers, contemporary artists are driven to transform the material world via their relationship to labour and productive work patterns, and it is this dynamic that potentiates Foullon’s practice.

Foullon’s re-invention and re-production of industrial tools and materials such as scythes, washboards, and ropes for hitching horses, re-presents the familiar American associations surrounding these objects with new identities albeit in abstract forms. Other works bear a closer relationship to functional clothing garments such as a working man’s dickie collar or a bandana that symbolises the blood, sweat and tears of a manual labourer, but scaled up grandly, so as to establish a physical presence in today’s modern world and to negotiate the sculpture’s supporting architecture.

For Launch Pad, Foullon has chosen to shift her historical reference point to the Victorian heritage of Holland Park, with Choker, a 9 ½ ‘ tall painted steel lace collar and tied velvet bow. Drawing on her interest in clothing and accoutrements, and the collar in particular as an expressive signifier of the self, the black velvet bow takes on a powerful theatrical presence. Constructed of the same heavy stage drapery often used by magicians for its trick-enhancing, deep, shadowy folds, Choker seems to defy gravity. Its heroic scale not only makes a monument of the bow, but suggests the deception that exists in the self, one that creates an illusion and that other that believes it.

An ‘in-conversation’ will take place between Rachel Foullon and collector and patron Valeria Napoleone, moderated by Margot Heller, Director of the South London Gallery, on Friday 10th October, 6:30-8:30. Booking is essential:

Foullon’s recent solo exhibitions include University Art Museum, University at Albany, NY. Group exhibitions include SculptureCenter, NY and Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, OK.  Awards and commissions have been granted to the artist by NYFA, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Public Art Fund, Grizedale Arts/Wordsworth Trust, and the International Residency and Workshop at IUAV, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy.

Rachel Foullon is represented by Halsey McKay, East Hampton, New York.