Tuesday 10 May 2016

Scotland + Venice at the 57th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, 13 May-26 Nov, 2017

Rachel Maclean selected to represent Scotland 

Presentation commissioned and curated by Alchemy Film and Arts in partnership with Talbot Rice Gallery and the University of Edinburgh

The Scotland + Venice partnership is delighted to announce that Rachel Maclean has been selected to represent Scotland at the 57th International Art Exhibition, the Venice Biennale, running from 13 May to 26 November 2017.

This will be a solo presentation of new work centred on a major new film commission.  The presentation is commissioned and curated by Alchemy Film and Arts, based in Hawick, in partnership with the Talbot Rice Gallery and the University of Edinburgh.

A graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, Rachel Maclean works across film, print and photography to construct fantasy narratives that play with issues of identity, social values and politics.  Donning outlandish self-made costumes and thick make-up Maclean plays each of the characters in her work demonstrating an exceptional commitment to both process and form.  A mix of high art and popular culture, advanced technology and traditional theatre, humour and serious enquiry her work is as exacting as it is engaging.  Having attracted national attention through her presence in The British Art Show this new commission will offer Rachel a significant international platform. 

Founded in 2010, Alchemy Film & Arts has produced six editions of the Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, an international festival of experimental film and artists’ moving image.   This commission is an important opportunity for Alchemy to build on its achievements to date, and to celebrate the dynamic creativity emerging within artists’ film and moving image practice in Scotland today.

The Venice Biennale is recognised as the largest and most prestigious visual arts exhibition in the world. This will be the eighth presentation from Scotland + Venice, continuing to build Scotland’s strength and reputation as an important international voice in visual art. Scotland + Venice is a partnership between Creative Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland and the British Council Scotland and the 2017 presentation will be returning to Palazzo Fontana.

As the creative and academic partner in the project the Talbot Rice Gallery will stage an exhibition of Rachel Maclean’s work in 2018.

On being selected for Scotland + Venice 2017 Rachel Maclean, commented: 

“It is hugely exciting to be representing Scotland at the Venice Biennale. I am honoured to be participating in such a significant international event and can't wait to get started on the new commission.”

Amanda Catto, Chair of the Scotland + Venice Partnership and Portfolio Manager for Visual Arts at Creative Scotland said:

“The Scotland + Venice partners are delighted to be presenting the work of Rachel Maclean at the Venice Biennale in 2017.  Rachel’s work is remarkable and has the power to captivate and enthral.  The Biennale is a significant international platform that will bring Rachel’s work to new audiences, especially the large number of international visitors that come to Venice.   Our partnership with Alchemy Film and Arts and the Talbot Rice Gallery/ University of Edinburgh is extremely valuable, providing exciting new possibilities to strengthen the impact of the project in Scotland, to produce an outstanding exhibition and to ensure our visitors are given the very warmest of welcomes.”

Richard Ashrowan, Creative Director at Alchemy Film & Arts said:  

“Rachel Maclean is a powerfully original artist filmmaker, and we look to celebrate the dynamic creativity emerging within artists’ film and moving image practice in Scotland today forward to working with her on a striking new film and exhibition presentation at Venice.  Alchemy Film & Arts has built a strong national and international profile through six editions of the Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival, touring programmes, film commissioning and residencies.  Scotland + Venice will help us build on this, while providing a platform - also add in about touring in Scotland and beyond? We are especially delighted to be working closely with Talbot Rice Gallery and Edinburgh University in the realisation of Rachel’s show.”


Talbot Rice Gallery 





Notes to Editor

1. Scotland + Venice is a partnership between Creative Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland and British Council Scotland and representatives of these organisations sit on the Steering Group that oversees the successful delivery of the project.  

For the artist/s selected Venice provides a significant opportunity for the development and presentation of new work.  For the partners Venice is an important project that helps to build Scotland’s profile and reputation as an international centre for the visual arts. 

The selection Panel included: Amanda Catto, Portfolio Manager for Visual Arts at Creative Scotland and Chair of the Scotland + Venice partnership; Amanda Catto, Head of Visual Arts at Creative Scotland; Simon Groom, Director of the Scottish National Gallery; Juliet Dean, Visual Arts Adviser at British Council; Godfrey Worsdale, Director of the Henry Moore Foundation and Katrina Schwarz, Curator at British Council. 

Previous Scotland + Venice presentations have included Graham Fagen (curated by Hospital Field Arts in 2015), Duncan Campbell, Hayley Tompkins and Corin Sworn (curated by The Common Guild in 2013), Karla Black (curated by the Fruitmarket Gallery in 2011), and Martin Boyce (curated by Dundee Contemporary Arts in 2009). In 1990, at the invitation of the Biennale director Giovanni Carandente, three sculptors, David Mach, Arthur Watson & Kate Whiteford made work for the Biennale in a project entitled - Tre Scultori Scozzesi

For information on past projects please visit www.scotlandandvenice.com. Follow @scotlandvenice and www.facebook.com/scotlandandvenice

2. Rachel Maclean (1987) was educated at Edinburgh College of Art where she completed her BA in Drawing and Painting in 2009.  Based in Edinburgh, Maclean was nominated for the Film London Jarman Award in 2013 and won Glasgow Film Festivals Margaret Tait Award in 2013. 

Recent exhibitions include: 'British Art Show 8’ (2015), 'Ok, You've Had Your Fun', Casino Luxembourg (2015), ‘Please, Sir…’, Rowing, London, (2014); ‘The Weepers’, Comar, Mull, (2014); ‘Happy & Glorious’, CCA, Glasgow, (2014). Recent screenings include: Feed Me at Athens and Luxembourg Film Festival (2016); Moving Pictures, British Council and Film London, (2015-16); Lolcats, Impakt Festival, Utrecht, The Netherlands, (2014). 

Maclean was nominated for the Film London Jarman Award in 2013 and won Glasgow Film Festivals Margaret Tait Award in 2013. She has an upcoming residency at Artpace, San Antonio and a solo show at HOME, Manchester in late 2016. 

3. 2016 was the sixth edition of The Alchemy Film & Arts Festival (14 - 17 April 2016).  The festival is produced in partnership with Heart of Hawick in the Scottish Borders. The 2016 Festival screened 124 films from 26 countries for the 2016 festival, with 44 UK or World premieres and over fifty filmmakers in attendance.  

Alchemy Film & Arts also engages in developmental projects for experimental film and artists’ moving image production in Scotland, including artists’ filmmaking residencies, filmmaking symposia, international and rural touring programmes, and community filmmaking initiatives. For further information please visit: www.alchemyfilmfestival.org.uk. Follow @alchemyfilmfest and www.facebook.com/alchemyfilmfestival.  

For an interview with Creative Director, Richard Ashrowan, please visit: www.creativescotland.com/alchemyfilmfestival

4. Founded in 1975, Talbot Rice Gallery is committed to showing work by Scottish and international artists and pursing excellence in exhibitions and audience development. As part of the University of Edinburgh, one of the world’s top universities, Talbot Rice Gallery is an influential player in the cultural landscape of Scotland and beyond. or further information on Talbot Rice Gallery please visit www.ed.ac.uk/talbot-rice

5. Creative Scotland is the national organisation that funds and supports the development of Scotland’s arts, screen and creative industries.  Creative Scotland has four objectives: to develop and sustain a thriving environment for the arts, screen and creative industries; to support excellence in artistic and creative practice; to improve access to and participation in, arts and creative activity; and to deliver our services efficiently and effectively.  In 2013/14 we will distribute over £100m in funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery.   For further information on Creative Scotland please visit www.creativescotland.com.  Follow us @creativescots and www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland

6. The National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) looks after one of the world's finest collections of Western art ranging from the Middle Ages to the present day. These holdings include the National Collection of Scottish art which is displayed in an international context. Every year the NGS welcome over 1.5 million visitors from Scotland and the rest of the world to our three Galleries sited in Edinburgh. These include the Scottish National Gallery, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. For further information please visit: www.nationalgalleries.org

7. British Council Scotland's mission is to build long-term international relationships and trust between the people of Scotland and other countries through the exchange of ideas, knowledge and information in the arts and education. Our involvement in the arts arena stretches back to 1947 when we helped to found the Edinburgh International Festival and every year we continue to work on new and exciting cultural projects connecting Scotland and the world. For further information please visit: www.britishcouncil.org/scotland.htm


Media Contact

Sophie Bambrough

Media Relations & PR Officer 

E: sophie.bambrough@creativescotland.com

T: 0131 523 0015

M: 07747 606 146


About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. 

British Council Scotland, the British Council’s Scottish office, brings the best of international education and arts to Scotland.  We also help Scottish students, teachers, artists, and others connect with people around the world.  We enrich people’s lives in Scotland and abroad through the exchange of ideas, skills and experiences.

Building trust between the people of Scotland and other countries helps create trade and business links.  By broadening people’s horizons and connecting Scots to other countries and cultures, we help boost Scotland’s economic prosperity.