Emily Pelstring: The Passion of the Hedge-Rider

This week, we are excited to share a meditative video capturing the magic of Emily Pelstring’s exhibition, The Passion of the Hedge-Rider. This video marks the first time that KWAG has worked with artist Miles Rufelds to document an exhibition and we could not be happier with the results of his critical eye.

Since exhibitions are temporal things, generally on view for approximately 3 months at a time, galleries are keen to document each project well – once they close, that specific installation is gone forever. Documentation is often done in the beginning of the exhibition and the images become valuable resources for ongoing marketing, institutional records and the artist(s) portfolio’s.

Each exhibition brings its own unique demands in terms of light levels, variety of media, specific sight-lines or curatorial relationships in the space, and so on. Pelstring’s exhibition had almost every challenge possible: the space was dark, it was an immersive installation, it was sculptural and time-based, it has sound, and loads of moving imagery in the gallery, on the floor and reflected across the walls. It photographs beautifully, but we felt straight photographic documentation did not adequately capture the spellbinding beauty of the artwork.

Working with video allows for a more embodied sense of space. The aperture of the camera lens becomes a stand-in for our own roving eye as we move through the space and slowly invite the immersive installation to do its work upon us. Adapting to the dark, our bodies strain to bring in the light while our ears swell with the beautiful sonorous vocals by Isla Craig. The spell is cast. We become a part of the installation. Time seems to flow in some other dimension. We are transformed by the experience of art.

While the video brings us closer to the experience than a still image, it is still no replacement for the real thing. Enjoy this video today and make sure to visit The Passion of the Hedge-Rider one more time before this specific installation closes forever on 8 January 2023.

Video produced by Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. Videography and editing by Miles Rufelds.