Lizzy Rose: Things I Have Learned The Hard Way
31 March - 23 April 2023
Exhibition at CRATE, LIMBO, Turner Contemporary and Well Projects
Opening celebration at CRATE & LIMBO: Fri 31 March until 9pm
Afterparty at Where Else, 21-22 The Centre, Margate CT9 1RL from 8:30pm
For full information about the project, including audio description and access guidance see thingsihavelearnedthehardway.com
Things I Have Learned The Hard Way is a multi-site celebration of the life and work of Lizzy Rose (1988-2022) taking place at four Margate venues: Crate, Limbo, Turner Contemporary and Well Projects. Alongside the exhibition, on Wednesday 12 April One Day I Will Feel My Power, a one-off event, will take place at the ICA in London. One Day I Will Feel My Power will show two of Lizzy’s video works alongside readings and responses from invited speakers from Leah Clements, R A Walden, Abi Palmer, Benedict Drew, Alice Hattrick, Mary ‘Invalid Art’, Carolyn Lazard, artists who have made chronic illness, neurodivergence or disability central to their work. The event will also be streamed live and hosted online by Wysing Arts Centre. (event duration 110 mins). Sick Artists Club, inspired by the work Lizzy made while in hospital and when housebound, invites people with a chronic illness or disability to celebrate their artwork via our website and through social media.
Lizzy’s death in January 2022, following a long struggle with chronic illness, cut short an exciting, innovative and wide-ranging career. Lizzy lived with a severe form of Crohn’s disease, a chronic autoimmune condition affecting the gut which, in Lizzy’s case, led to intestinal failure, alongside other health conditions. Her worldview was shaped by her experience and awareness of the precarity of life. Whilst Lizzy’s later work directly and politically addressed chronic illness, and how society deals with it, from the late 2000s onwards, Lizzy’s work turned a sharp eye on ‘hidden’ culture, asking the viewer to take notice and showing how by doing so we can affect the systems we are part of.
The centrepoint of the exhibition at LIMBO is a restaging of Lizzy’s ambitious installation Arrangement (2017), in which the gallery floor is covered with a layer of living moss.
This transient and “imperfect” living environment (which needs regular light watering) requires those using the space to negotiate with care as the gallery and visitors become part of a visible ecosystem.
The installation houses the video work The Meaning of the Wild, made following a research trip to Japan taken by Lizzy to explore Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging. Lizzy’s trip to Japan was supported by Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, who have supported the re-staging of this work.
Alongside the video, sculptural and floral arrangements are dotted amidst the moss. Lizzy compared her reliance on medical technology to being like a ‘plant kept in a pot’ and with Arrangement used her knowledge to focus us on the act of caring for complex and sometimes irrational systems, and showed us the potential for beauty in this act.
The give-and-take between the landscape and human efforts is further explored in the early film work Electricity in the Stones (2010), which documents a couple (played by Lizzy’s mother and stepfather) as they take a daytrip to explore the ruins of Romney Marsh, blurring the boundaries between the mystical and the everyday.
Lizzy spent an increasing portion of her time in hospital from 2010 on. Determined to continue working creatively, she began thinking of ways to turn this space into one of making, thinking and sharing. For In the Studio: In Hospital (2015), Lizzy created a live video feed of flower arrangement from her studio in Margate as she underwent experimental hospital treatment January-March 2015. This powerful piece, which now has increased poignancy, was an important precursor to Lizzy’s later work.
A restaging of 2015’s experimental installation Black and White Studio combines The Art of Driftwood Arrangement, a series of charcoal drawings of single pieces of driftwood, alongside stills and photographs from Lizzy’s video work exploring the ruin, highlighting Lizzy’s interest in fragmentation and transformation in nature.
Arts Council England
Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation
Lizzy’s family & everybody who contributed to the crowdfunder that made this project possible