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Art graduate reveals Venice vision

An Edinburgh College of Art graduate has revealed details of work she will exhibit at one of the world’s most prestigious art festivals.

Spite Your Face ­– Rachel Maclean’s new film at the Venice Biennale – will be a dark Venetian fairytale, which offers a critique of the contemporary ‘post truth’ political rhetoric.

Dark fairytale

With Pinocchio as one of the main reference points, the film will explore how the language of truth is used and abused to enhance personal, corporate and political power.

The work will illuminate the power dynamics of the globalised world, examining how corporate greed, aggressive consumerism, political authority and sexual power can act in opposition to personal conscience.

Spite Your Face was written in Venice during the ongoing Brexit debate and President Donald Trump was on the road to the White House.

Talbot Rice

It will be presented in the dramatic deconsecrated church of Chiesa di Santa Caterina from 13 May to 26 November 2017.

Maclean’s work for Scotland + Venice is commissioned and curated by Alchemy Film & Arts in partnership with Talbot Rice Gallery and the University of Edinburgh.

Spite Your Face will receive its UK premiere at Talbot Rice Gallery in early 2018.

Rachel Maclean

Maclean graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2009 where she completed her BA in Drawing and Painting. 

Her work came to prominence in New Contemporaries 2009 and she achieved significant acclaim in 2016 through her British Art Show 8 hit Feed Me. She was nominated for the Jarman Award in 2013 and 2016.

Maclean’s work presents a bold and often disturbing vision, creating fantasy narratives involving studio based green-screen techniques, custom prosthetics, costume, and voice actors.

Citing Cindy Sherman, Paul McCarthy and Barbara Kruger as early points of inspiration, Maclean plays all the characters in the films herself, while working directly on every detail of post-production.

Scotland + Venice

Scotland + Venice was founded in 2003 to promote the best contemporary art from Scotland on an international stage. It is a partnership between Creative Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland and the British Council Scotland. 

ECA in Venice

Edinburgh College of Art is represented elsewhere in the Venice Biennale 2017.

Tessa Giblin, director of Talbot Rice Gallery, is the Comissioner and Curator of Ireland at Venice, exhibiting the work of artist Jesse Jones.

ECA graduate Takahiro Iwasaki has been selected to represent Japan at the Biennale. Born in Hiroshima, Iwasaki studied an MFA in Edinburgh before graduating in 2005.

Related links

Scotland + Venice

Edinburgh College of Art

Talbot Rice Gallery