Rachel Maclean

Hyper-saturated videos unfold narratives through characters that quote classic films

Rachel Maclean, The Lion and The Unicorn, 2012 (still)

Rachel Maclean, The Lion and The Unicorn, 2012 (still)

Rachel Maclean (b. 1987, Edinburgh), lives and works in Glasgow
The aesthetics of Rachel Maclean’s films remind the viewer of a supersaturated, candy-coloured, LSD-soaked Alice in Wonderland, created with the help of green-screen technology. In this innocent, fanciful setting Maclean unfolds her narratives with characters – often played by the artist – that quote popular films such as The Wizard of Oz but also draw from horror movies, talent shows and the world of television adverts. In the tradition of postmodernism, Maclean mashes up all sorts of popular film genres, quoting from different artistic fields and offering a critique of contemporary culture and capitalism. In her new film Maclean will work with actors for the audio component.

Maclean’s films, with their use of an excessive vocabulary of forms and characters, could be read in the tradition of the carnivalesque, after Mikhail Bakhtin. The annual carnival season is regarded as a vent, a release that permits a society temporarily to undermine rigid political and hierarchical structures, using humour and laughter, and giving licence to imaginings of a new organization of the world. This blurring of boundaries and departure from the norm, enabled by the breaking of taboos, also allows for a commingling of high and popular cultures. Maclean’s use of the carnivalesque can be considered a ‘performative act’ – the body in its grotesque and transgressive form.

Rachel Maclean was born 1987 in Edinburgh and lives and works in Glasgow. She has a BA in Drawing and Painting from Edinburgh College of Art. She has had solo exhibitions at: Zabludowicz Collection, London (2014); Edinburgh Printmakers (2013); Collective Gallery, Edinburgh (2013); and Trade Gallery, Nottingham (2013). In 2013, Maclean received the Margaret Tait Award for her contribution to Glasgow Film Festival and was shortlisted for the Film London Jarman Award.

Maclean's film is presented in collaboration with HOME, Manchester’s international centre for contemporary visual art, theatre and film, where the artist will have a solo show of new work, 29 Oct 2016 – 8 Jan 2017.

Showing in the Frieze London auditorium at 11:30am and 6:30pm on Friday and Saturday; 11:30am and 5:30pm on Sunday.

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