Rachel Maclean: Wot u :-) about? exhibition at HOME

Polly Checkland Harding
We Want Data! by Rachel Maclean. Commissioned by Artpace and HOME.

Rachel Maclean: Wot u :-) about? at HOME Manchester, Manchester 29 October 2016 — 8 January 2017 Entrance is free

How do people decide whether to go to an exhibition or not? As an arts writer, if you’re excited about an upcoming opening, it’s the question you’re tacitly trying to address as you write. In the case of Rachel Maclean: Wot u 🙂 about? at HOME, it’s hard to tell what’s likely to be more fascinating: how the saccharine landscapes and characters in Maclean’s video works swiftly subside into violence and gluttony, or her first foray into sculpture, for which the sweetly grotesque characters have climbed out from the screen and into physical form. Alternatively, if credentials are what sway you, it’ll be the fact that Maclean is representing Scotland at the 2017 Venice Biennale.

We Want Data by Rachel Maclean
We Want Data by Rachel Maclean. Commissioned by Artpace and HOME.

Either way, this is one exhibition to pay attention to – not least because Maclean’s evisceration of contemporary culture’s plasticky, over-saturated innards is led by a multitude of references; to fairy tales, horror films, 60s psychedelia, children’s TV and more. Maclean has created a body of entirely new work for Wot u 🙂 about?, which explores the controversial boundary between child and adulthood. What does it mean, for instance, to have a woman dressed as a doll gyrating in a setting that looks like the inside of Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory? Or for a character wearing Dorothy’s shoes from The Wizard of Oz to be given tumescent pink boobs and be singing the lyrics from The Black Eyed Peas’ The Time (Dirty Bitsong?

We Want Data by Rachel Maclean. Commissioned by Artspace and HOME.
We Want Data by Rachel Maclean. Commissioned by Artpace and HOME.

Co-curator Bren O’Callaghan nails the unsettling nature of Maclean’s output when speaking about his long-held ambition to host a solo exhibition of her work. “To be co-curating this exhibition of all new work here at HOME is literally a dream come true,” he says, “albeit one of those dreams where the last image beneath your eyelids is of a small child advancing with a concealed weapon.” For the most part, however, it’s adults – and their subversion of supposedly innocent platforms for children – that Maclean skewers in her candy-coloured nightmare world. Escape the exhibition, and you might find yourself troubled by what you’re smiling about.

Rachel Maclean: Wot u :-) about? at HOME Manchester, Manchester 29 October 2016 — 8 January 2017 Entrance is free

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Where to go near Rachel Maclean: Wot u :-) about? exhibition at HOME

Manchester
Restaurant
Indian Tiffin Room, Manchester

Indian Tiffin Room is a restaurant specialising in Indian street food, with branches in Cheadle and Manchester. This is the information for the Manchester venue.

The Ritz Manchester live music venue
Manchester
Music venue
The Ritz

The Ritz was originally a dance hall, built in 1928, has hosted The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and The Smiths and is still going strong as a gig venue now.

Homeground
Manchester
Event venue
Homeground

Homeground is HOME’s brand new outdoor venue, providing an open-air space for theatre, food, film, music, comedy and more.

Manchester
Café or Coffee Shop
Burgess Cafe Bar
at IABF

Small but perfectly-formed café – which also serves as the in-house bookstore, stocking all manner of Burgess-related works, along with recordings of his music. It’s a welcoming space, with huge glass windows making for a bright, welcoming atmosphere.

Rain Bar pub in Manchester
City Centre
Bar or Pub
Rain Bar

This huge three-floor pub, formerly a Victorian warehouse, then an umbrella factory (hence the name), has one of the city centre’s largest beer gardens. The two-tier terrace overlooks the Rochdale canal and what used to be the back of the Hacienda, providing an unusual, historic view of the city.

Manchester
Bar or Pub
The Briton’s Protection

Standing on the corner of a junction opposite The Bridgewater Hall, The Briton’s Protection is Manchester’s oldest pub. It has occupied the same spot since 1795, going under the equally patriotic name The Ancient Britain.

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