Isabel Rocamora is an artist working with the moving image and stills photography. Her practice originated in performance, with live works commissioned by institutions including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Institute of Contemporary Arts London, and the Arts Council of England. Awarded internationally, her works have been curated in galleries, museums and filmothèques worldwide, and are held in several permanent collections.
Conceived as meditations on contemporary ethics, Rocamora’s work destabilises ideas of social unchangeability by interrogating the complex bond people hold to history in legacies of trauma. Recent films consider the relationship between exile and selfhood, the moral consequences of military violence, and issues of faith and difference at the heart of contemporary conflict. Her intricately choreographed mise-en-scènes often focus on the performative nature of human gesture and its relationship to individual and cultural identity. Highlighting the significance of place, the expansive landscapes in her images reveal their presence as history-bearing sites. In this way, the bunker-strewn beaches of the Normandy Landings (Body of War) and the limitless valleys of the Judean desert (Faith) transcend the classical landscape to become, respectively, loci of trauma or spiritual retreat. Aiming to counter performance with testimony, these works solicit the viewer as witness rather than spectator – a relation that she considers to be facilitated by multi-channel formats and site-sensitive installation. She has in recent years developed a practice in medium format analog and digital still photography often in dialogue with/ curated alongside her films.
Rocamora's films have been extensively exhibited, including: the Centre for Contemporary Art Palazzo Strozzi, Florence; the National Museum of Photography, Copenhagen; the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Israel; the Museum of Modern Art, Bologna; Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing; and Austrian Cultural Forum NYC. She has been selected for international surveys of videoart at Artium Museum of Modern Art, Vitoria; The Pacific Centre, LA; Arts Santa Monica, Barcelona; MAC Museum, Galicia and The Venice Biennale (Colaterali). Recently, alongside her solo exhibitions Troubled Histories, Ecstatic Solitudes at The Koffler Gallery (Toronto), Ecstatic Solitudes at The Shaw Gallery, Weber State University (Utah), and Imaging Faith at Summerhall Galleries Edinburgh, her work has shown at the Musée de la Civilisation, Quebec; MUNTREF Museum, Buenos Aires; Museo Patio Herreriano de Valladolid; and the Museu Història de Catalunya, Barcelona, among other venues.

Isabel holds a PhD in film-philosophy from the University of Edinburgh, where she has also taught film studies (2015-2019). Previously, she held visiting lectureships in cinema and artist moving image practice at Edinburgh Napier University (Screen Academy Scotland), Barcelona International Film School and Instituto Europeo Di Design. Isabel has been widely invited to give artist talks (Whitechapel Gallery and Architects’ Association, London; Royal Art Circle, Barcelona; Hamidrasha School of Art, Israel; A. M Qattan Foundation, Ramallah PT; Stills Gallery Edinburgh); and has delivered papers at academic conferences such as Film Philosophy (universities of Oxford, Glasgow, Lisbon) and by invitation (universities of Brown, Dundee, Frankfurt). Authored publications on her practice include an artist monograph Horizon of Exile (Sala Parpalló, 2009); an essay on Residual (Re-imagining the City of Bristol, Watershed, 2006); and a chapter on the philosophies, aesthetics and performance principles that ground the ethical preoccupations of her film-making, in Cinematic Intermediality: Theory and Practice (eds. Marion Schmid and Kim Knowles, Edinburgh University Press, Feb. 2021).
Isabel lives and works between Edinburgh and Barcelona and is represented by Galeria SENDA.


(updated 23.05.21)