Rachel Maclean: British Art Show 8


Posted by to The Blog on March 22nd

A remarkable film work by one of most exciting young artists to emerge in Scotland over the last few years has been acquired by the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.  Rachel Maclean’s critically acclaimed film Feed Me (2015) is one of the major hits of British Art Show 8, an extensive survey of recent contemporary art in the UK currently on show at the Gallery of Modern Art and other venues in Edinburgh.

Commissioned for British Art Show 8 by Film and Video Umbrella (FVU) and Hayward Touring, Feed Me is Maclean’s most ambitious work to date. It is the first work by the artist to enter the SNGMA collection.

Glasgow-based Maclean (b.1987) graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2009, and has since become known for her fantastical films, which often use satire to comment on a broad range of contemporary issues. The nightmarish, candy-coloured world the artist has produced in Feed Me, is inhabited by a cast of grotesque figures, each played by Maclean herself, using an elaborate and beautifully realised wardrobe of costumes and prosthetic aids. Maclean has also worked with actors to record the dialogue which she lip-syncs on screen and, as with all of her films, green-screen technology and extensive post-production have been used to extraordinary effect.

Feed Me draws on an array of sources – from fairy tales and children’s television programmes to advertising and internet memes, reality TV, talent shows and horror movies. The specially written soundtrack blends a host of styles including pop music and musical theatre. Made with cinematic production values, the hour-long film takes viewers on a roller-coaster ride through the vices of 21st-century culture. In particular, Feed Me explores the commercialisation of childhood and a corresponding tendency to infantilism in adult society, and brings to life the ‘little monsters’ created by consumerist desire. The idea of pretence pervades the film – from the role-play undertaken by Maclean herself, to the blurring of the relationship between imaginary and real worlds.

The artist’s work has been exhibited extensively in the UK and internationally. In 2013, she received the Margaret Tait Award, which was established by Glasgow Film Theatre to support experimental and innovative artists working with film and the moving image.

Feed Me will be on display at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One), where it is proving to be a huge draw for visitors as part of British Art Show 8, until 8th May The artist will discuss her work in a free talk on Monday 2nd May in the Hawthornden Lecture Theatre, Scottish National Gallery, The Mound.

British Art Show 8 is a touring exhibition organised by Hayward Touring in collaboration with galleries in Leeds, Edinburgh, Norwich and Southampton. The Edinburgh version of the exhibition is shown across three sites; aside from the SNGMA works can be seen at Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden; and the Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh.

https://www.nationalgalleries.org

Picture: Rachel Maclean, Feed Me (detail of film still), 2015, HD video, 60 minutes approx, Courtesy the artist and Film and Video Umbrella

62 responses to “Rachel Maclean: British Art Show 8”

  1. Rachel Maclean’s ‘Feed Me’ is a parable of the pleasures and perils of indulgence, and a wicked, waspish skit on a world where greed is good, and it’s OK to give in to every temptation and whim. Extravagance and excess, those seductive ugly sisters – whispering to the avarice in our soul, always eager to tickle the sweet spot of the contemporary cultural palate – are, one can hardly fail to notice, also signature features of Maclean’s artistic palette; evident in her obvious love of dressing up and in the multi-layered digital confections with which she drapes and decorates her work.

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