A State of Vital Exhaustion

    Graphite on paper

An investigation into the meditative quality of drawing, the suffocation of the domestic, and the narrative that exists in the space between being and not-being.


Installation: printmaking, sound, sculpture

Lament examines the fate of Aeneas’ wife Creusa in Virgil’s The Aeneid. Creusa is left behind by her husband, her spirit confined to the walls of Troy for eternity. Her story, little explored in visual culture, is amplified into an immersive narrative experience, allowing the audience to begin to inhabit the uncomfortable space hollowed out by Creusa’s spirit. This experience is crafted through drawing, sculpture, and spoken word. I have used the material language of the sea and the cliffs – clay, salt, and chalk – to make relics forged from the shadow Creusa’s spirit casts through history.

from The Aeneid
Book II

There came to my sight a pitiful phantom, the wraith
Of Creusa herself, but larger in form than of old.
In my terror, my hair stood on end, speech stuck in my throat;
Then she spoke to me, taking away my grief with her words

                            I that am Trojan by birth
And a daughter-in-law of Venus; but on these shores
The gods’ great mother will keep me.

The More Things Change

Artist’s book

This is a book about the much loved, yet sadly short lived, independent state of Hye. Led by the late Berta Lucrece Scott-Seve, the islanders of Hye demonstrated formidable courage in the face of incredible adversity.

Here is their story: the curse, the polyps, the sheep, and all.

An alternative history of the Isle of Sheppey, loosely adapted from the Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel, The Autumn of the Patriarch. The narrative is constructed with a nod to magic realism, whereby I created a fictional benevolent dictator to occupy a real location and inhabit its history. As part of the research for the project, I spent time in Sheppey, walking between places on the island, collecting ephemera, and interviewing locals. I chose a visual language that combines photography with drawing,  investigating the ways in which the materiality of image making can interweave with the content of the text.

Nothing from Nothing
Moving image, 2018

A collaborative work created with Claire Orme as part of Nothing from Nothing, a residency at LIMBO Margate exploring the theme of editing as a creative practice. Working in response to part one of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, we spent two days recording, drawing and filming in Margate, where Eliot's ideas for the poem began to crystalise. A satellite project to Journeys with 'The Waste Land' at Turner Contemporary, the video was accompanied by a live performance of our edit of the text, and the rituals and repetition within.

                I. The Burial of the Dead

April is the cruellest month, breeding

              Memory and desire,


                what branches grow

    Out of this stony rubbish?

Son of man,

You cannsound of water. Only

        There is shadow under this red rock,

        (Come in under the shadow of this red rock),

And I will show you something different from either

Your shadow at morning striding behind you

                   I will show you fear in a handful of dust.


“They called me the hyacinth girl.”

            Your arms full, and your hair wet, 



Unreal City,



“That corpse you planted last year in your garden,      

                                      with his nails he’ll dig it up again!




A series of constructions in response to John Berger's And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief As Photos. I wanted to explore how the idea of home as a safe space can be reassembled once it has been dismantled and fragmented in the ways described in Berger's work, through different kinds of emigration and exile. With this in mind, I began forming constructions based on how these fragments of home can be translated so that they might fit back together.

Questions, collaborations, commissions? I am always happy to hear from you!

© Rebecca Truscott-Elves 2018