Rachel Maclean

Miracle Marathon @ Serpentine Galleries, Oct 8 – 9

3 October 2016

The Miracle Marathon is on at London’s Serpentine Galleries, as part of Frieze week in the UK capital, running October 8 to 9.

After the previous marathons Extinction (2014) and Transformation (2015), we turn our attention to something more magical. Developed with artist Sophia Al-Maria, this year’s theme looks at ritual and repetition “to consider ways in which the imaginary can not only predict, but also play a part in affecting long-term futures.” The extensive line-up brings together a number of cross-disciplinary practitioners from the fields of art, science, activism, music, literature and theology among many others.

Day 1 will take place in West London at Serpentine Sackler Gallery and will also be live video streamed here. To begin the program, Gilbert & George present ‘FUCKOSOPHY FOR ALL’ followed by Al-Maria’s own ‘The Unblinding’

The afternoon includes Etel AdnanJussi ParikkaGenesis P-OrridgeTimothy Morton and into the evening with James Bridle and Calla HenkelMax Pitegoff. There will be an installation by Douglas Gordon, a live blog by Legacy Russell, and two films by Jimmie Durham and Rachel Maclean.

Day 2 will be 12 hours of performances, screenings and installations recorded in front of a live audience and broadcasted on Serpentines radio station. Contributors include Jesse DarlingTakeshi Shiomitsu, and Martine Syms, as well as an installation by Sarah Abu Abdallaha new film by Marianna Simnett, a conversation between Hito Steyerl and Milo Rau and an audio blog by William Kherbek throughout, among many other things.
See the Serpentine Galleries website for details.**
'Miracle Marathon' (2016). Promotional image. Courtesy of Serpentine Galleries, London.
‘Miracle Marathon’ (2016). Promotional image. Courtesy of Serpentine Galleries, London.

Open Source 2016, May 28 – 29

27 May 2016

Open Source 2016 contemporary art festival is on at Londons’ Gillett Square in Dalston, running May 28 to 29.

The free weekend event and artist-run initiative brings together the art world private view into the public space with a series of screenings, live performances and installations from the likes of Larry Achiampong, Cory Arcangel, Benedict Drew, Joey Holder, Hannah Black, and Rachel Maclean, among others.

Organised by Emily Butler, Christine Eyene, Helen Nisbet, Joe Fletcher Orr & Doug Bowen, Richard H M Parry and Amy Sherlock, the theme this year follows “subcultures, identity, fluidity and self-determination” and will also include an immersive video game, ice cream, drones, VJ and DJ sets, street posters, experimental hair salon, and more.

See the Open Source website for details.**

Larry Achiampong performing at All Of Us Have A Sense Of Rhythm: An Evening of Live Music at DRAF, 2015. Photo: Dan Weill
Larry Achiampong @ All Of Us Have A Sense Of Rhythm: An Evening of Live Music (2015). Performance view. Photo by Dan Weill. Courtesy DRAF, London.

Just Frustration (2015) exhibition photos

15 October 2015

Just Frustration, an exhibition presented at Copenhagen’s Sixty Eight between August 7 and August 31 explored frustration both as a feeling and an entanglement. According to the press release, it’s an enmeshment where “futures seem to be permanently seen from the perspective of a past of outwardly and inwardly expressed fear”, where Conservative “common sense” and where the “present is permanent(ly)” made up of the continuation of colonial and imperial historical values. Curated by Tom Clark and Iben Elmstrøm, the group show included work by Ester Fleckner, Rachel Maclean, Imran Perretta, Lousie Haugaard, Amel Ibrahimovic, Hanne Lippard and Chloe Seibert, asks how an artwork can be directed towards this entanglement, this frustration, and find nuances, reliefs, magnifications and common denominators, be it via language, material and/or object.

'Just Frustration' (2015). Exhibition view. Sixty Eight.
Just Frustration (2015). Exhibition view. Sixty Eight.

Ester Fleckner‘s ‘I Navigate in Collisions’ (2015) are two woodcut prints on paper that are nervous images all bearing their forms (or trying to) out of straight lines, like family trees, as Fleckner’s collisions webpage describes. London-based Perretta has created a surface that holds white washed marks up to bare scrutiny and that drapes, quite transparently and brightly, like a thing in the way in the space. It’s just behind Seibert’s video of landscapes, high sky scrapers, mountains, which sits in the window, looking out and titled: ‘I Am At A Loss For Words’ (2013). A small text also by Perretta is powerful and straight forward: “She knows about villages, the Modern and the savage, but I can’t listen anymore, because slowly she is taking my history away from me”.

Danish artist, Louise Haugaard Jørgensen‘s installation, ‘Rendezvous. Ascend to the second floor, melt down to the third floor. Bon appétit’ (2015) includes a white plaster 3D print, which resembles an ancient vessel, perched on a metal structure that could be a drawn symbol of a house. With it she has cut up a lecture by anthropologist, Claude Lévi-Strauss and added it to a tape by Danish Musician, Dario Campeotto. Campeotto’s song is about being in love and never leaving: “you could walk in and out the fire… but you would always be mine” and Levi-Strauss’ lecture is descriptions of methods of how to: cannibalism (boiling, melting etc.) The pairing evokes conversations about consumption but also devotion and enmeshment. “Old Hegemonies”, as the press release discusses, are brought into the foreground and distorted. How can art help itself, us and things around us in the present to remain un-distanced? **

Exhibition photos, top right.

The Just Frustration group exhibition was on at Copenhagen’s Sixty Eight, running from August 7 to 31, 2015.

Header image: Chloe Seibert, ‘I am at a loss for words’ (2013). Installation view. Sixty Eight, Copenhagen.

Just Frustration @ Sixty Eight, Aug 7

5 August 2015

Sixty Eight brings in a new group exhibition, titled Just Frustration opening at the Copenhagen art space on August 7.

The show, curated by Sixty Eight founder Iben Bach Elmstrom and curator, writer and Base for Active Knowledge (BAK) editor Tom Clark, takes frustration as the fertile ground for artistic growth, “at the entrenched ideologies, local specificities, and claims for global progress that bind the everyday”.

The participating artists—which include Chloe Seibert, Hanne Lippard, Amel Ibrahimovic, Ester Fleckner, Rachel Maclean, Imran Perretta, and Louise Haugaard Jørgensen —draw attention to the flawed historical paradigms and dogmatic values that have caused, in recurrent waves, social and economic collapses and destruction.

See the exhibition page for details. **

Heathers (2014) @ Rowing exhibition photos

8 December 2014

Happening a while back but one not to be overlooked, Camden’s Rowing in London presented a nine-strong exhibition of artists inspired by the 1988 teen cult-classic and would-be mass murder movie, Heathers, running September 19 to October 25. Curated by New York’s Alex Ross and crossing generations born before and beyond the 80s, the exhibition rides on the inescapable cycle of contemporary art co-option in popular culture via its “impulse to vampirise levity as a cipher for criticality and de-subjectivisation”.

'Heathers', 2014, installation view, Rowing, London
Heathers (2014). Installation view. Courtesy Rowing, London.

It takes the Michael Lehmann film’s quiet nods to artworks – obtusely referred to in a list of timings appearing on the Rowing exhibition page in lieu of a press release – across 11 pivotal scenes underscored by their appearance in the background. The Heathers exhibition in turn takes this idea of appropriation and depoliticisation of a post-Pop Art space further, by presenting works that reintegrate popular, or more specifically, commodity culture back into the artwork, begging the question, ‘what’s the difference anyway?’ Hence there’s May Hands‘, ‘Endless Euphoria (Calvin Klein)’ (2014) – a minimal white netted canvas dotted with the fashion house’s perfume cards – next to ‘Guilty, (Gucci)’ (2014) and Deanna Havas‘s ‘Regrind (4)’, a papier mâché plaque on foam crudely painted with brands, a browser window and fragments of text including, “Brand Name: Famous”.

Bradford Kessler‘s ‘Mistletoe (3,2,1)’ (2014) hangs from the ceiling at the Rowing entrance – tasteful snow-white head harnesses fitted with crisp new tennis ball gags – while Daniele Milvio’s glazed raw clay scallop bowls are mounted across four walls. That’s where Kait Mooney‘s titanium negative ion necklace for the athlete in ‘third initial’ (2014) lies scattered in a scrawl on the floor. It’s tubing and brass fittings lead away from Erika Ceruzzi‘s tumbling wall hung, ‘Ribbons (Electrobank)’ (2014), across from Rachel Maclean‘s ‘LolCats’ (2012) 15-minute video, on the floor in the corner. The latter artist performs famous cultural moments throughout history – from a Katy Perry interview (“I wanted them to be, like, Britney Spears-white.”) to a scene from The Wizard of Oz (“But, I don’t understand”) – as the ‘LOLCat’ meme personified in a hyper-stylised fantasy landscape.

Where the art and the curatorial concept comes to bear most succinctly, is in Lisa Holzer‘s framed painting of ‘Nude monochrome’s naked dream with Ei passing under spaghetti (blushing orange)’ (2014), where the Tiqqun-inspired framed pigment print behind glass reacts as much as it mediates in an interface between person and projection (“girly-like shy rather than ashamed“). Anime stickers are stuck across from frame to transparent screen in the paler ‘It’s my hair and I can do what I want with it!’ (2014) print, confusing where the image ends and the ‘reality’ begins. The causality dilemma is extended to video game culture, high school shootings and the socialised violence, misogyny and alienation of conventional masculinity in Andrea Crespo‘s empty Playstation 3 game disc boxes. The Complex Cases feature blurbs taken from existing blog posts left behind by soon-to-be teen mass murderers in what’s becoming a growing trend building up on copy-cat actions by the likes of Jeff Weise and Elliot Rodger, with Jokela High School student Eric-Pekka Auvinen insisting, “HUMANITY IS OVERRATED!” **

Heathers group exhibition was on at London’s Rowings Projects, running September 19 to October 25. 

Header image: Lisa Holzer, ‘Nude monochrome’s naked dream’ (2014) @ Heathers. Install view. Courtesy the gallery.

Heathers @ Rowing Projects, Sep 19 – Oct 25

17 September 2014

London’s Rowing Projects is hosting the nine-artist Heathers group exhibition, running at the Camden art space from September 19 to October 25.

Taking its title from the dark 80s teen cult comedy by the same name, Heathers takes a look at pop culture’s (and pop cinema’s) co-option of contemporary art and its “impulse to vampirise levity as a cipher for criticality and de-subjectivisation”.

Featured in the line-up are Heathers-aged artists, including Erika Ceruzzi, Andrea Crespo, May Hands, and Kait Mooney, all of whom were born in the 90s, as well as Deanna Havas, Rachel Maclean, Daniele Milvio, Lisa Holzer and Bradford Kessler.

See the Rowing Projects exhibition page for details. **