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Freewill: Free Will

by on August 31, 2009

Performed at the South London Gallery Courtyard 31st August

Game Rules

  • Take any number of matches from any pile in turn with me
  • Only take from one pile per turn
  • Whoever takes the last match loses


Photograph: Virginie Gilardin

Documentation photography: Andrea Arnold, Virginie Gilardin and Sue Healey

Thanks to Andrew, Carole, Daria, Elizabeth, Gen, Julia, Mabel, Mary, Nicola, Kim, Paul, Paul, Paula, Phil, Phil, Sveta, Wendy and William

Special thanks to Steve R

performed at the Tate Modern 27 November

Press Release

Freewill: Free Will

 at the South London Gallery courtyard

31st August 2009

In response to their 2009 summer show ‘Beyond These Walls’, D Rosier will be performing in the South London Gallery’s courtyard space.

Playing a match game, which is said to date from 16th Century China, D Rosier explores the notions of freewill and free will. Whilst freewill refers to something done of one’s own accord, free will relates to having the power of making free choices unconstrained by external agencies.

Freewill: Free Will works on two levels, the game is played voluntarily, and in theory there is an even chance of winning. But, as in life, the odds are actually stacked against you… freewill and free will are here an illusion.

In this participatory performance D Rosier attempts to offer real freewill/free will to the players, by accepting anything they choose to play as their ‘stake’, for her stake of £10. Thus, the piece also works as a commentary on the dynamic of capitalism, which offers only the illusion and distortion of true democracy or freedom.

She occupies both a position of power in the play of the game, and one of powerlessness in the choice of stake.

The artist’s choice of the gallery’s courtyard as a location for the performance, suggests also an exploration of her relationship with the South London Gallery, and the current exhibition.

The press release for ‘Beyond These Walls’ describes the work in the show as “prompting fresh perspectives on the SLG’s architecture, our negotiation and interpretation of its spaces, and its geographic context.”

D Rosier – an early-career artist based in South London – positions her work just beyond the actual walls of the gallery, yet within the aura of its boundary. This act of freewill/free will might also reveal through performance some of the complexities in the relationship of local artists with an art institution committed to balancing its responsibilities to both the local community and an international art audience.

From → Performances

  1. Elizabeth permalink

    Lovely to see the picture of this delightful piece of work.

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