︎ The Rest is History
The Rest is History
is a photographic work entirely produced on the 31st of January 2020 in London, the day the UK left Europe. This visual exercise aims to question the historical relevance of this event, encouraged by the noise of various media outlets and political parties that supported the LEAVE campaign. By juxtaposing the celebratory events happening in Parlament Square with images taken in the European section at the British Museum, my intention was to create a time-based historical cacophony, a theatrical representation of a battle between a past and present to petrify a dialogue of gestures, expressions and actors navigating towards an uncertain future.
This work will be published as an artist book publication in 2021 (Date TBC) accompanying an installation of the work. If you would like to be informed about this publication, please send me an email to
It was meant to be the moment in time when “church bells were rung, coins struck, stamps issued and bonfires lit to send beacons of freedom from hilltop to hilltop”. Those celebrating were to be seen “weaving through the moonlit lanes of Sussex, half blind with scrumpy, singing Brexit shanties at the tops of their voices”. Such was the vision of Brexit Day offered by then newspaper columnist Boris Johnson, now Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, three days before the UK was first supposed to withdraw from the European Union
, 26 March 2019).
In reality, it was significantly quieter when the UK finally left the EU on 31 January 2020. What remained striking, however, were the endeavours of the “Brexiteers” time and again to work with historical imagery.
“History has become a caricature of parochial dreams, nostalgias and made-up analogies” (Cambridge Core Blog, 21 February 2019).
Professor Stefan Vogenauer, Director at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History says that “the
belief in the blessings of Brexit has been compared to a religion or ideology. This is not entirely wrong. But an ideology can only exist on the basis of a particular world view. Therefore, constructions of identity are also relevant when they are incorrect. Historical narratives can develop a life of their own. This is also important for the frequently asked question about the relevance of history for the future. Today there is a broad consensus that no instructions for future action can be derived from history. But we access the present through our understanding of what has happened so far, saturated by historical experience. The discourse surrounding Brexit shows that, when looking to the future, it is difficult to free ourselves from the ghosts of the past.“