Recent projects by Rose Borthwick look at the modes of conversation and persuasion employed by different religious groups for the purposes of recruiting individual members of the public to their faith or community. The artist has held conversations with members of groups such as Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, looking to recruit her, whilst she has in turn sought to engage them in a discourse about art, trying to convert them to believe in art’s value.
Her new work, In But Not Of, similarly draws attention to a possible middle ground between modern faith systems and artistic practices, and was triggered by an accidental encounter in Gothenburg with two American missionaries from the Mormon Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). A dialogue unfolded about the meaning of having strong faith in the context of an art project, revealing two kinds of engagement towards the subject matter; the missionaries to proselytise, and the artist to research and generate material for an artwork. The work reflects the realities of exchange between different positions, including the difficulty to accept other perspectives or rights, but also the occasional formation of unexpected alliances. Within the installation notionally resembling a Mormon ‘instruction’ room, Borthwick presents films based on her encounters with Mormon representatives, and the rhetorical and pedagogical strategies employed in these contexts.
Rose Borthwick is based in Gothenburg.
Commissioned for GIBCA 2017