© Rachel Maclean, Make Me Up, 2018
dv_vd: Rachel Maclean
As part of the dv_vd screenings, Vidéographe and Dazibao are pleased to present the work of the Scottish artist and filmmaker Rachel Maclean. This programme comprises the feature-length film Make Me Up (2018) and the short Eyes 2 Me (2015).
Think Youtube aesthetic meets Matthew Barney meets Charles Dickens: the darkly comedic work of Scottish artist Rachel Maclean explores social roles, feminine identity, and the influence of the media in contemporary Britain. The over-the-top aesthetic of her costumes, make-up and vividly colored digital environments is cut through with an unwavering insight into the pitfalls of today’s image culture. An outstanding performer, Maclean plays all the roles in the majority of her videos.
Make Me Up
UK, 2018, 84 min, digital video, VOA
This darkly-comic film takes a satirical look at the contradictory pressures faced by women today. It examines how television and social media can be fun and expressive spaces to explore identity, but simultaneously a gilded prison that encourages women to conform to strict beauty ideals.
Siri wakes to find herself trapped inside a brutalist candy-coloured dreamhouse. Despite the cutesy decor, the place is far from benign, and she and her inmates are encouraged to compete for survival while being watched over by surveillance cameras, 24/7.
Presiding over the group is an authoritarian diva who speaks entirely with the voice of Kenneth Clark from the 1960s BBC series Civilisation. As she forces the women to go head-to-head in a series of demeaning tasks, Siri, with the help of fellow inmate Alexa, starts subverting the rules and soon reveals the sinister truth that underpins their world.
Eyes 2 Me
UK, 2015, 3 min, digital video, VOA
Eyes To Me follows a doll-like protagonist named Sophie who moves through an enchanted garden inhabited by a race of cuddly Cyclopes known as the Eeblebops. As the video shifts between different formats (a children’s television programme, a fashion shoot and a probing interview), Sophie is surveyed, coerced and reprimanded by an omnipresent male voiceover, whose treatment of her moves from a tone of benign paternal care to one of cold, militant disapproval.
Shot entirely using green-screen, Maclean is the only figure in the work, miming to recorded audio and warping her features to create uncanny, cartoonish characters that exist within an oversaturated digital world.
Commissioned by Film London for Channel 4 Random Acts
Rachel Maclean, born in Edinburgh (1987), is a multi-media artist. Using film and photography, she creates outlandish characters and colorful fantasy worlds which she uses to build a vivid criticism of our society. Wearing colourful costumes and make-up, Maclean takes on almost every role in her films herself. She uses computer technology to generate her locations, and borrows audio from television and cinema to construct narratives with a comedic touch. Rachel Maclean has had many solo exhibitions in London, Edinburgh, Nottingham and places abroad such as Germany, Russia and others. In 2013, she received the Margaret Tait Award for her contribution to Glasgow Film Festival and was shortlisted for the Film London Jarman Award. Rachel Maclean was also was selected to represent Scotland in Venice at the 57th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale in 2017. She lives and works in Glasgow. rachelmaclean.com