Venue: Gallery
Dates: Saturday 20 October - Sunday 20 January


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Rachel Maclean: Spite Your Face


EXHIBITION: 20 October, 2018 - 20 January, 2019

Commissioned for the Venice Biennale in 2017, Rachel Maclean’s critically-acclaimed ‘Spite Your Face’ travels to Chapter, Cardiff to present her first solo exhibition in Wales.

Referencing the Italian folk-tale The Adventures of Pinocchio, ‘Spite Your Face’ (2017) advances a powerful social critique, exploring underlying fears and desires that characterise the contemporary zeitgeist. Set across two worlds – with a glittering, materialistic and celebrity-obsessed upper world, and a dark, dank and impoverished lower world – the lure of wealth and adoration entices a destitute young boy into the shimmering riches of the kingdom above. Written in the wake of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, and during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the story is steeped in the political flux and uncertainty of our time. Shown as a perpetual 37-minute loop with no definitive beginning or end, ‘Spite Your Face’ raises issues including the abuse of patriarchal power, capitalist deception, exploitation and the destructive trappings of wealth and fame, all in Maclean’s typically direct and acerbic style.

Following the monumental staging of the work for Scotland + Venice in the deconsecrated Chiesa di Santa Caterina in Venice, ‘Spite Your Face’ was reframed for the Georgian Gallery of Talbot Rice in Edinburgh before travelling to Cardiff where Chapter will also present a new commission to accompany the exhibition. Maclean has created a large-scale artwork that will be sited on the art centre’s façade, announcing the arrival of central character, Pic to visitors and passers-by alike.

A text by writer and curator Ellen Mara de Wachter has been commissioned to accompany the exhibition.


‘Spite Your Face’ (2017) was commissioned and curated for Scotland + Venice by Alchemy Film and Arts, in partnership with Talbot Rice Gallery and the University of Edinburgh.  Additional support provided by Edinburgh College of Art, Outset and the Saltire Society of Scotland.

The exhibition at Chapter is made possible with support from the Art Fund and Hope Scott Trust.


Rachel Maclean (b.1987, Edinburgh)

Based in Glasgow, Rachel Maclean graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2009 and her work came to public attention in New Contemporaries later that year. She has since received significant acclaim with major solo shows at Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Château de Servières, Marseilles, Artpace San Antonio, Texas, HOME Manchester and Tate Britain.

Her work A Whole New World won the prestigious Margaret Tait Award in 2013, she has twice been shortlisted for the Jarman Award, and achieved widespread critical praise for Feed Me in British Art Show 8 in 2016.  She has also worked on a number of TV commissions with BBC Scotland and Channel 4, which include ‘Billy Connolly; LIfe of a Portrait’ 2017 and ‘Rachel Maclean: The Shopping Centre, Artist in Residence’ Firecrest Films and Channel 4 (2018).

In 2017, She represented Scotland + Venice 2017 at the Venice Biennale with the newly commissioned work Spite Your Face, on view in Chiesa Santa Caterina. Commissioned and curated by Alchemy Film and Arts, in partnership with Talbot Rice Gallery and the University of Edinburgh.  Her most recent film and TV project with BBC and Hopscotch Films, NVA, 1418Now, Make Me Up 2018 (TV film version) will be broadcast on BBC 4 in November 2018. It will receive its world film premiere in London BFI London Film Festival in the Experimenta programme and will be screened in cinemas and arts centres throughout autumn.  

Her new Make Me Up gallery film edition and installation will open at Zabludowicz Collection London in September 2018 and solo exhibition Rachel Maclean: In Dialogue with the National Gallery will open at the National Gallery, London November 2018.



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