Outset Scotland was delighted to support Rachel Maclean’s major solo commission for Scotland + Venice, a Collateral Event for the 57th International Art Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia.
Referencing the Italian folktale The Adventures of Pinocchio, Maclean’s new film, Spite Your Face, offers a powerful critique of contemporary ‘post truth’ political rhetoric, in which the dubious language of truth is used and abused to enhance personal, corporate and political power. Set across two worlds, the upper realm is bright, ordered and glittering, populated by silver-skinned, manipulative characters, while all below is dirty, impoverished, flooded and grey. A bottle of Truth works its ambiguous magic, as a Madonna-like character offers a destitute young boy a way into the shimmering riches of the kingdom above. The price he pays is to cast himself morally adrift. He discovers that (un)Truth proves a worthy substitute for the real thing, packaged up and sold to an unquestioning public. Riches, power and adoration are his rewards for playing his part in an ethically barren, corporate illusion. At least, until Truth itself runs out.
Maclean’s dark, modern-day, Venetian fairytale was presented as a large-scale, portrait projection at the altar of Chiesa di Santa Caterina – a deconsecrated church in Cannaregio, Venice – from 13 May to 26 November 2017. The work was commissioned and curated by Alchemy Film & Arts, based in Hawick, in partnership with Talbot Rice Gallery and the University of Edinburgh.
Spite Your Face returned to Scotland in 2018 to be exhibited at Talbot Rice Gallery from 24 February to 5 May.
Rachel Maclean is a Glasgow-based artist (b.1987, Edinburgh, Scotland). Working predominantly with the moving image, Maclean has had significant recent success, with major exhibitions at HOME, Manchester and Tate Britain in 2016. After graduating from Edinburgh College of Art, her work came to public attention in New Contemporaries 2009. She went on to win the Margaret Tait Award in 2013, was twice shortlisted for the Jarman Award, and achieved widespread critical acclaim for Feed Me (2015) in the British Art Show 8.
Recent exhibitions include: Wot u 🙂 about? (2016), HOME, Manchester and Tate Britain, London; We Want Data (2016), Artpace San Antonio, Texas; Feed Me (2015), British Art Show 8; Ok, You’ve Had Your Fun, Casino Luxembourg (2015); Please, Sir…, Rowing, London (2014); The Weepers, Comar, Mull (2014); Happy & Glorious, CCA, Glasgow (2014), part of GENERATION, 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland. Recent screenings include: Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival (2017); Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India (2016); TECHSTYLE Series 1.0: Ariadne’s Thread at MILL 6, Hong Kong (2016); Athens and Luxembourg Film Festival (2016); Moving Pictures, British Council and Film London (2015-16); Impakt Festival, Utrecht, The Netherlands (2014).
Scotland + Venice was founded in 2003 to promote the best contemporary art from Scotland on an international stage. It is a strategic initiative supported and managed by Creative Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland and the British Council Scotland. Scotland + Venice is staffed by emerging artists and arts professionals from across Scotland. In 2017, Scotland + Venice worked with the Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh and other institutions (including Borders College, City of Glasgow College, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, The Glasgow School of Art and Gray’s School of Art) to make this professional development opportunity possible.
Founded in 2010, Alchemy Film & Arts celebrates experimental film and artists’ moving image culture in Scotland. Its annual Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, approaching its eighth edition in 2018, is produced in partnership with Heart of Hawick in the Scottish Borders. Alchemy Film & Arts also raises the profile of Scottish based artists internationally through developmental projects for experimental film and artists’ moving image, including artists’ filmmaking residencies, filmmaking symposia, international and rural touring programmes, and community filmmaking initiatives.
Talbot Rice Gallery is the University of Edinburgh’s public art gallery. Founded in the early 1970s, Talbot Rice has an influential national and international reputation founded on its exhibition and integrated education programmes. In the last decade the Gallery has curated exhibitions with some of the most influential artists in the world, including: Luc Tuymans, Jane and Louise Wilson, Joseph Kosuth, Jenny Holzer, Lucy McKenzie, Alasdair Gray, Mark Dion, Rosemarie Trockel, and Tim Rollins.