A solo exhibition featuring four key works Spite Your Face (2017), Eyes To Me (2015), Germs (2013) and The Lion and the Unicorn (2012) will showcase a decade of Maclean’s fantasy worlds.
Alongside the unveiling of Rachel Maclean’s new commission upside mimi ᴉɯᴉɯ uʍop, Jupiter Artland invites audiences to delve further into the imagination of Rachel Maclean through the display of four seminal works made during the last decade. Visitors can watch in full her 2017 Venice Biennale commission Spite Your Face, a post-truth dystopian tale inspired by the divisive campaigns currently dominating global politics. As a rare treat, audiences can see one of Maclean’s earliest artworks, The Lion and the Unicorn, 2012, an inspired commentary on Scottish independence and the crisis of the union. Emblazoned with Union Jacks and Solitaire flags, Maclean dresses as a lion to embody English voices and a unicorn for Scottish ones, borrowing the vocal talents of Jeremy Paxman and Alex Salmond to excellent comic effect. Firmly in the tradition of the greatest political satire, Maclean’s work has a timeless quality, reinforcing the message that although faces change and headlines shift, the farce of political life and comic-tragedy of human frailty is endless and forever.
Lesser known to gallery audiences are Germs, 2013, and Eyes To Me, 2015, two shorter works created in the vein of info-commercials and kids TV. Timely to revisit in this era of hand-sanitising and social distancing, Germs follows a glamourous female in her battle against an adorable army of pink-and-purple germs, each played by the artist. Rather more unsettling is Eyes To Me, made in the style of a children’s television programme, where a young protagonist named Sophie moves through an enchanted garden inhabited by a race of cuddly Cyclopes. As the video shifts between different formats (kids TV, a fashion shoot, a probing interview), Sophie is surveyed, coerced and reprimanded by an omnipresent male voiceover, whose treatment of her moves from benign paternal care to cold, militant disapproval.
Using colourful make-up and extravagant self-designed costumes, Rachel Maclean plays all the characters in the films herself, borrowing from fairy tales, children’s television, product advertising, and internet pop videos. Employing computer technology to generate her locations and appropriating voices from popular television, the internet, and cartoons, Maclean deftly constructs super-saturated, cinematic alter-worlds populated by cautiously psychotic characters.
About Rachel Maclean
Over the last 10 years Rachel Maclean’s films have shown widely in the UK and internationally, in galleries, museums, film festivals and on television. She has received significant acclaim, with major solo shows at Tate Britain, National Gallery London, Kunsthalle zu Kiel Germany, Arsenal Contemporary New York, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Talbot Rice Gallery Edinburgh, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, National Gallery of Australia Canberra, Artpace San Antonio Texas and HOME Manchester. Maclean represented Scotland + Venice at the Venice Biennale 2017 with her film Spite Your Face. Her feature-length film Make Me Up premiered at London Film Festival and went on to screen in numerous festivals including Rotterdam and The Flying Broom International Women’s Film Festival in Turkey, where it won the film critics award.
Her work A Whole New World won the Margaret Tait Award in 2013, she has twice been shortlisted for the Jarman Award, and achieved widespread critical praise for Feed Me in British Art Show 8 in 2016. She has also worked on a number of TV commissions including Make Me Up (2018) and Billy Connolly; Life of a Portrait (2017) for BBC and Rachel Maclean: The Shopping Centre, Artist in Residence for Channel 4 (2018). Commissioned by Jupiter Artland, upside mimi ᴉɯᴉɯ uʍop is Rachel Maclean’s first permanent outdoor artwork.
Bonnington House Steadings
Near Wilkieston, Edinburgh EH27 8BY