Rosa Doornenbal: The Will to believe


The Will to Believe

10 – 26 February 

OPENING Thursday 10 February 6 – 9pm

PALFREY is thrilled to present The Will to Believe, an exhibition centred around a new film of the same title by Rosa Doornenbal.

The film follows the pscyhodramas and shenanigans of its central character, an actor named Victor Lustig, as he struggles to articulate his sense of self and sustain faith in anything. In dialogues and monologues that use shards of recycled speech, Victor in a more affirmative mood declares that “Positive thoughts will create positive things.” But as he comments to the rabbit he meets, his reason for not trusting in faith is that “I don’t like the idea that I am not in control of my life.” Victor stands as a paranoid and diminished remnant of strident masculinity, while lamenting his fragile command of himself, his combustible sense of authenticity and dread of looming mediocrity.

Doornenbal’s work is inspired by personal and collective ideas about desirability, morality and success in relation to gender and identity. Operating fluidly between sculpture, video and performance, she embraces vulnerability, the odd and the uncanny.

For The Will to Believe Rosa has worked together with Alan Michael, Anna Frijstein, Charles Harrison, Daniel Taylor, Hurtence, Jack Patton, Kate Mackeson, Millie Wise, Natalie Kynigopoulou, Norman Mine, Sven van Nimwegen, Teal Griffin, Thomas Caminada, Valerie Kong, and Victor Lustig. 

Rosa Doornenbal’s recent projects have included her solo show Sliptong at Marwan, Amsterdam, 2019; group shows and screenings: Forum: Bread and Games, organised by Open Space Contemporary, London, 2020; The Vapours, Kunstverein Bamberg, 2020; What do we do now, now that we are happy, Chalton Gallery, London, 2019. As a performer she has presented her work at Jupiter Woods, London, 2019, Salty performance night at Printworks, Hastings, 2019; as part of Sweat, de School, Amsterdam, 2019; and at Deptford X, London, 2018. She has performed in Vincent Riebeek’s dance performance The desire to create something that already exists, 2020, in Switzerland and the Netherlands. In 2019 she was awarded the Young Talent Stipend from Mondriaan Fonds for developing her creative practice. Rosa Doornenbal lives in Amsterdam and London.

The Will to Believe has been made possible by Arts Council England’s DYCP scheme and SET Dalston. 

photography: Damian Griffiths.

© PALFREY 2022