Rose English emerged from the Conceptual art, dance and feminist scenes of 1970’s Britain to become one of the most influential performance artists working today. Her uniquely interdisciplinary work combines elements of theatre, circus, opera and poetry to explore themes of gender politics, the identity of the performer and the metaphysics of presence.

English has mounted performances in ice rinks; at the Royal Court Theatre and Tate Britain, London and Franklin Furnace, New York; and collaborated with horses, magicians and acrobats. Her work ranges from her site-specific performances and collaborations of the 1970s including Quadrille, Berlin and Mounting, her acclaimed solo performances of the 1980s including Plato’s Chair and The Beloved to her large scale spectaculars of the 1990s including Walks on Water, The Double Wedding and Tantamount Esperance. English also co-wrote and designed the feature film The Gold Diggers, 1983, directed by Sally Potter; digitally re-mastered and released on BFI DVD in 2009.

Her internationally celebrated solo with a horse - My Mathematics - was followed by a series of vignettes with horses at The Banff Centre, Canada and The Serpentine Gallery, London. Ornamental Happiness - a show in song and circus opened the Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art in 2006 followed by Flagrant Wisdom, commissioned by National Glass Centre in 2009.

English’s performance works of the 1970s featured in the exhibition ‘WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution’ curated by Cornelia Butler at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles 2007. Her installation Quadrille was shown at Freize Masters, London, 2013 with Karsten Schubert, and is now part of the Tate collection. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘The Eros of Understanding’, 2014 at Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, ‘A Premonition of the Act’, 2015 at Camden Arts Centre, London and ‘Form, Feminism, Femininities’, 2019 at Richard Saltoun Gallery, London.

Her work has also been featured in significant group exhibitions, including 'FEMINISMS' at Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB), Barcelona, Spain (2019); 'DRAG: Self-portraits and Body Politics,' Hayward Gallery, London, UK (2018); 'Of Other Spaces: where does gesture become event', Cooper Gallery, Dundee, UK (2016–2017); 'Test Run: Performance in Public,' Modern Art Oxford, UK (2015); 'Keywords: Art, Culture and Society in the 1980’s Britain,' Tate Liverpool, UK (2014) and ‘Interloqui’ Caterina Tognon, Venice, IT (2011) amongst others. Her awards include the Time Out Performance Award, the Wingate Scholarship and the Paul Hamlyn Award for Artists. Her work is in both private and public collections including Tate, London; York Art Gallery, UK and The VERBUND Collection, Vienna. Rose English is represented by Richard Saltoun Gallery and Karsten Schubert, London.

As an actress Rose has appeared in a wide range of theatre, film and television productions, working with directors including Richard Jones, Neil Jordan, Nick Philippou, Sally Potter, Nicolas Roeg and Bock & Vincenzi. Rose's work with dance includes choreographing Ariadne auf Naxos at the Munich Staatsoper, directed by Tim Albery and her collaborations with choreographer Matthew Hawkins, including Angels and Exiles at the Royal Opera House.



Rose English Pegasus, 1975. photo credit: Michael Bennett