Rachel Maclean

Rachel Maclean
Rachel Maclean, Make Me Up, 2018 (still). Courtesy of the artist. © Rachel Maclean
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Rachel Maclean has rapidly established herself as one of the most distinctive creative voices in the UK. Creating baroque, hyper-real worlds using green-screen video and computer animation, and playing many of the extravagantly costumed characters herself, Maclean spins razor-sharp fables that combine comedy and horror. Her work offers a powerful critique of contemporary society and its underlying fears and desires.

Maclean first exhibited at the Zabludowicz Collection in 2014 with a solo exhibition as part of our Invites programme, and now returns for the 2018 Annual Commission show. At its centre is I’m Terribly Sorry, a new Zabludowicz Collection commission in virtual reality, the artist’s first piece in the medium, made in collaboration with Werkflow. An interactive experience set in a dystopian urban British landscape of manic tourist merchandise, it reflects on societal unease and misunderstanding in a culture of voracious documentation, self-performance and voyeurism.

Spite Your Face, 2017, the film with which Maclean represented Scotland at the 57th Venice Biennale, will be presented in the Main Hall. Referencing the Italian folktale The Adventures of Pinocchio, it was made in the context of significant changes in the political climate in the UK and abroad, in particular the divisive campaigns in the lead up to the Brexit vote and the US Presidential election – events central to heralding a new post-truth era.

Presented in the Back Gallery is an exclusive gallery edition and installation of Make Me Up, 2018, Maclean’s major new film commission produced by Hopscotch Films with NVA for BBC and 14-18 NOW.† The central protagonist is Siri, who wakes to find herself trapped inside a brutalist dream house. Despite the cutesy décor, the place is far from benign, and she and her inmates are encouraged to compete for survival while being watched over by surveillance cameras. Presiding over the group is an authoritarian diva (played by Maclean) who speaks entirely with the voice of Kenneth Clark from the BBC series Civilisation (1969). Make Me Up takes darkly-satirical look at the contradictory pressures faced by women today and reflects on the multiple voices within contemporary feminism’s challenge to patriarchal abuses of power.



Based in Glasgow, Rachel Maclean (b.1987, Edinburgh) graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2009 and her work came to public attention in New Contemporaries later that year. She has since received significant acclaim, with major solo shows at Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Château de Servières, Marseilles, Artpace San Antonio, Texas, HOME Manchester and Tate Britain.

Her work A Whole New World won the prestigious 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 with BBC Scotland and Channel 4, which include ‘Billy Connolly; Life of a Portrait’ 2017 and ‘Rachel Maclean: The Shopping Centre, Artist in Residence’ Firecrest Films and Channel 4 (2018).

Maclean represented Scotland + Venice at the Venice Biennale 2017 with the newly commissioned work Spite Your Face, on view in Chiesa Santa Caterina. Commissioned and curated by Alchemy Film and Arts, in partnership with Talbot Rice Gallery and the University of Edinburgh. Her most recent film and TV project with BBC and Hopscotch Films, 14-18 Now, Make Me Up (TV film version) will be broadcast on BBC 4 in November 2018. It will receive its world film premiere in London BFI London Film Festival in the Experimental programme and will be screened in cinemas and arts centres throughout autumn 2018.

* I’m Terribly Sorry is produced in collaboration with Werkflow. Commissioned by Zabludowicz Collection in partnership with Arsenal Contemporary

Make Me Up is a major film commission by Rachel Maclean, produced by Hopscotch Films with NVA for the BBC, Creative Scotland and 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation. Make Me Up is part of Represent, a series of works inspired by the Representation of the Peoples Act 1918