A remarkable film work by one of most exciting young artists to emerge in Scotland over the last few years has been acquired by the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, it was announced today (Tday 23 March). Rachel Maclean’s critically acclaimed film Feed Me (2015) is one of the major hits of British Art Show 8, an extensive survey of recent contemporary art in the UK currently on show at the SNGMA, and other venues in Edinburgh.
Commissioned for British Art Show 8 by Film and Video Umbrella (FVU) and Hayward Touring, and supported by Arts Council England and Creative Scotland, Feed Me is the Rachel Maclean’s most ambitious work to date. It is the first work by the artist to enter the SNGMA collection.
Glasgow-based Maclean (b.1987) graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2009, and has since become known for her fantastical films, which often use satire to comment on a broad range of contemporary issues. The nightmarish, candy-coloured world the artist has produced in Feed Me is inhabited by a cast of grotesque figures, each played by Maclean herself, using an elaborate and beautifully realised wardrobe of costumes and prosthetic aids. For the first time, Maclean has also worked with actors to record the dialogue which she lip-syncs on screen, and as with all of her films, green-screen technology and extensive post-production have been used to extraordinary effect.
Feed Me draws on an array of sources – from fairy tales and children’s television programmes to advertising and internet memes, reality TV, talent shows, and horror movies. The specially written soundtrack blends a host of styles including pop music and musical theatre. Made with cinematic production values, the hour-long film takes viewers on a roller-coaster ride through the vices of 21st-century culture. In particular, Feed Me explores the commercialisation of childhood and a corresponding tendency to infantilism in adult society, and brings to life the â€˜little monsters’ created by consumerist desire. The idea of pretence pervades the film â€“ from the role-play undertaken by Maclean herself, to the blurring of the relationship between imaginary and real worlds.
Rachel Maclean’s work has been exhibited extensively in the UK and internationally. In 2013, she received the Margaret Tait Award, which was established by Glasgow Film Theatre to support experimental and innovative artists working with film and the moving image.
Feed Me is on display at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One) until 8 May 2016 where it is proving to be a huge draw for visitors as part of British Art Show 8. The artist will discuss her work in a free talk on Monday 2 May in the Hawthornden Lecture Theatre, Scottish National Gallery, The Mound.
British Art Show 8 is a touring exhibition organised by Hayward Touring in collaboration with galleries in Leeds, Edinburgh, Norwich and Southampton. The Edinburgh version of the exhibition is shown across three sites; aside from the SNGMA works can be seen at Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden; and the Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh.