Digitalno-neonsko-pastelna parodija technicolor-glitter-bajki devijantnija od izvornika.
Inspired by the Technicolor utopias of children's television, Over The Rainbow (2013) invites the viewer into a shape-shifting world inhabited by cuddly monsters, faceless clones and gruesome pop divas. Shot entirely using green-screen the film presents a computer generated environment, which explores a dark, comedic parody of the fairytale, video game and horror movie genres.
Art: Rachel Maclean – Quick Child, Run at Trade Gallery
“CELIA SHITS!”By pearrlszine
Rachel Maclean is an artist based in Glasgow. Since graduating from Edinburgh College of Art in 2009 Rachel has exhibited across the UK and internationally - including, in 2012, a solo presentation LOLCATS, Generator Projects, Dundee. In 2010 Rachel received the World Class Visual Effects for Artists Project Grant through the Visual Effects Research Lab, Duncan of Jordanstone Collage of Art & Design, Dundee and in 2011 went on a 6 month residency supported by Creative Scotland to the Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada. Rachel recently premiered Over The Rainbow, a 40-minute video piece as part of Collective Gallery's New Work Scotland.
Maclean's work slips inside and outside of history and into imagined futures, creating hyper-glowing, artificially saturated visions that are both nauseatingly positive and cheerfully grotesque. She largely works in green-screen composite video and digital print, often installing this alongside props, costumes and related sculpture.
In recent videos such as 'Over The Rainbow' and 'LolCats' she creates synthetic spaces in which Katy Perry discuses teeth whitening with an aristocratic cat, a decapitated diva dances to hip-pop and a pastel coloured dog sings for The Queen. Maclean is the only actor or model in her work and invents a variety of characters that mime to appropriated audio and toy with age and gender. These clones embody unstable identities: conversing, interacting and shifting between cartoonish archetypes, ghostly apparitions and hollow inhuman playthings.
RACHEL MACLEAN’S FILMS ARE STARTLINGLY NEW AND DISTURBINGLY FAMILIAR. Splicing fairy tales with reality television shows, tabloid stories, Disney films and Internet memes, the Glasgow-based video artist’s satirical fantasy narratives are held together by a bizarre yet persuasive dream logic. We go through the looking glass and into nightmarish pop culture wonderlands, digitally rendered in a pulsating medley of lurid pink, purple, yellow and blue: a fluorescent, feline-themed kingdom inhabited by cat-people with high heels and big rubber breasts in LolCats (2012); a post-apocalyptic burning planet where the few remaining humans squabble over their nation status in A Whole New World (2013). Often accompanied by found sound – sources range from an interview with Katy Perry to a speech by David Cameron – these worlds are at once nothing and much like our own.Feed Me (2015), currently on show as part of the British Art Show, is Maclean’s longest and most ambitious work to date. Installed in a room resembling a tween bedroom – which adds the cloying smell of cheap carpet to the already intense viewing experience – it depicts a seedy dystopian city where a sinister toy corporation uses invasive online marketing tactics to peddle plastic ‘happiness’ to the masses. Characters range from a voyeuristic, pot-bellied business executive to a schoolgirl social media addict, all played by Maclean. Using Green Screen technology, she has populated the film with legions of cloned versions of herself, laboriously filled in the background with layer upon layer of hyper-saturated computer graphics, and overdubbed the dialogue with the voices of professional actors. Maclean is in fact the sole performer in all of her works – and is just one among a number of recent contemporary moving image artists using performance, personae, avatars and alter egos to hold a mirror up to society and to question identity in today’s post-social media age.
Citing the photographer Cindy Sherman as inspiration, Maclean uses makeup, clothes and her own body to impersonate figures male and female, young and old, animal and human. While Sherman recreates recognisable feminine archetypes from film and art history, making portraits that look almost ‘real’, yet subtly wrong, Maclean’s characters are truly outlandish. To give you an idea: the business executive in Feed Me wears a suit and a baby bib, has a padded stomach, painted blue skin, and Irn-Bru orange hair. Sharing a taste for the grotesque with artist-filmmakers such as Matthew Barney, Mike Kelly and Paul McCarthy, her creatures look more like clowns or figures from a terrifying children’s TV programme than real-life people.
One of the most disturbing features of Maclean’s characters is the fact that the face paint, wigs, faux-historical costumes and Lolita dresses used to construct their physical appearances are not made for the purpose, but in fact sourced either from Poundland or online cosplay retailers. These monsters may look alien but in fact already exist, in various disassembled forms, in our collective cultural imagination. Maclean uses these absurd chimeric creations to exaggerate and destabilise stereotypes reproduced in the media and pop culture: pop star bimbos; ‘hoodies’; patriotic Scots; paedophile monsters.
While Maclean works with multiple characters and across a range of personae, Ed Atkins and Shana Moulton employ single alternative identities to work through aspects of their own personalities and explore wider social issues. For the past few years, Atkins has been ‘performing’ via digital avatars that take the place of his own body. The multi-channel video installation Ribbons (2014), shown at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in 2014, features an avatar called Dave who delivers a long, disjointed monologue, occasionally breaking into melancholy song. Dave, who Atkins describes as ‘a surrogate and a vessel’, has the generic physical appearance of a white, shaven-headed man. Atkins has mapped his own features onto him and given him his voice, leading the viewer to question where the artist ends and the avatar begins. Dave is by turns insecure and pretentious, an extreme version – the viewer is led to assume– of the artist who created him.
Moulton works with an alter ego rather than an avatar. Recalling the work of feminist artist Lynne Hershman Neeson, who famously created a fictional persona named Roberta Breitmore, Moulton has created an alternative persona called Cynthia – a naive hypochondriac with confidence issues. In Whispering Pines (2002-ongoing), a long term video series and performance project, Cynthia gets through life as best she can with the help of prescription drugs, beauty products, exercise and spirituality. The series is partly inspired by Twin Peaks, and Moulton overlays her films with digital graphics to create a distinctive magic-realist, pastel-coloured New Age aesthetic. In a similar vein to Atkins, the New-York-based artist has stated that she uses Cynthia as a means of working through her own neurotic tendencies, as well as to highlight the anxieties rife in contemporary culture.