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1/2 Rachel Maclean, (digital image) Spite Your Face, 2017, digital video. Courtesy the artist. Commissioned by Alchemy Film & Arts in partnership with Talbot Rice Gallery and the University of Edinburgh on behalf of Scotland + Venice 3/4 Rachel Maclean in Chiesa di Santa Caterina, Cannaregio, Venice 2017. Photos by Richard Ashrowan and Stuart Fallon

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‘I keep developing larger ideas,’ she says, ‘and I get quite excited about how you can develop characters over a longer period. Working with Alchemy already feels somewhere between the art world and cinema. One ambition of mine is to write a treatment for something much bigger. There are so many different ways of looking at how I might do that, but I really like the idea that work can relate to people outwith the art world. Even using Pinocchio and stories that people know, but done with layers of complexity beyond that, really appeals. Working in cinema really appeals in that way, but I don’t see me moving out of the art world either.’ Given the wild theatricality of her films and a clear love of rummaging through the dressing-up box to become a multitude of characters, Maclean is having tentative thoughts about bringing her work into the live arena. ‘I have this idea of developing work into some kind of live performance,’ she says. ‘I’m not sure how I’d do that yet, but it’s another way of expanding things. I’d probably work with actors rather than be in it myself. It’s a big leap to do that, but I like theatre 8 | ART

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that uses video within it, so maybe it could move between video and live performance, but I don’t know yet.’ Whether she ends up as director, performer or designer, Maclean is already an auteur whose creations could easily burst through the screen to become extravagantly realised Busby Berkeley-style epics. In the meantime, Spite Your Face will receive its UK premiere at Talbot Rice in 2018. By then, the world may have changed again, but chances are Maclean’s film will still chime with the times in the most audacious and playful of ways. ‘I hope Spite Your Face reflects something of what’s happening in the world just now,’ she says, ‘and that politics is seen through a different lens and a different language than it being discussed purely through journalistic means. By interrogating ideas about truth and lies, and illuminating that through fairytales, hopefully people who see the film will be able to get something about what’s going on in the world in a different way.’

Spite Your Face 13 May–26 November Chiesa di Santa Caterina, Cannaregio, Venice, representing Scotland + Venice 2017 at the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia The UK premiere will be held at the Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh, in early 2018

‘I hope Spite Your Face reflects something of what’s happening in the world just now,’ she says, ‘and that politics is seen through a different lens and a different language than it being discussed purely through journalistic means’

Neil Cooper is a writer and critic based in Edinburgh Scottish Art News | VENICE SPECIAL | 9

Profile for Scottish Art News

Scottish Art News Issue 27  

Scottish Art News Issue 27  

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