Rachel Maclean To Represent Scotland At 57 Venice Biennale




The British Council Scotland has announced that Rachel Maclean will represent Scotland at the 2017 Venice Biennale. The Scotland + Venice partnership body is in charge of the 57th International Art Exhibition selection process. The Venice Biennale will run from 13 May to 26 November 2017. This will be a solo presentation of new work centred on a major new film commission.  The presentation is commissioned and curated by Alchemy Film and Arts, based in Hawick, in partnership with the Talbot Rice Gallery and the University of Edinburgh.

A graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, Rachel Maclean works across film, print and photography to construct fantasy narratives that play with issues of identity, social values and politics.  Donning outlandish self-made costumes and thick make-up Maclean plays each of the characters in her work demonstrating an exceptional commitment to both process and form.  A mix of high art and popular culture, advanced technology and traditional theatre, humour and serious enquiry her work is as exacting as it is engaging.  Having attracted national attention through her presence in The British Art Show this new commission will offer Rachel a significant international platform. 

Ms Maclean’s Venice Biennale commission will be a film work. Her videos, which have been shown at London’s Zabludowicz Collection and Glasgow’s Tramway gallery, feature fantastical narratives that are mostly staged in computer-generated settings; Maclean plays every character. Shot in candy-colored tones, her videos combine language borrowed from the Internet, centuries-old tales, and the aesthetic of Teletubbies.

“It is hugely exciting to be representing Scotland at the Venice Biennale,” Maclean said in a statement. “I am honored to be participating in such a significant international event and can’t wait to get started on the new commission.”

Founded in 2010, Alchemy Film & Arts has produced six editions of the Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, an international festival of experimental film and artists’ moving image.   This commission is an important opportunity for Alchemy to build on its achievements to date, and to celebrate the dynamic creativity emerging within artists’ film and moving image practice in Scotland today.

The Venice Biennale is recognised as the largest and most prestigious visual arts exhibition in the world. This will be the eighth presentation from Scotland + Venice, continuing to build Scotland’s strength and reputation as an important international voice in visual art. Scotland + Venice is a partnership between Creative Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland and the British Council Scotland and the 2017 presentation will be returning to Palazzo Fontana.


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