Curator’s introduction: Landseer and Maclean | National Gallery

Good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to the two Curator’s Introductions to two related exhibitions: ‘Landseer’s Monarch of the Glen’ and ‘Rachel Maclean:
‘The Lion and The Unicorn’. I’m Susan Foister, I’m the Curator
for ‘Landseer’s ‘Monarch of the Glen’. I’m Curator of British Painting
among other things. My name is Daniel Herrmann, Curator of Special Projects
at the National Gallery, and I was lucky to work both with Susan but also with the artist Rachel Maclean on her display,
‘The Lion and The Unicorn’. We’ve worked very closely together,
it’s fair to say, and we actually went up to Glasgow
together to visit Rachel in her studio, which was a great beginning
to the collaboration. So, I just want to say a few words about how we got to display this extremely famous painting,
Landseer’s ‘Monarch of the Glen’. This is a painting that the National
Galleries of Scotland acquired last year. It’s a painting that had been
on loan to them for a very long time. Daniel, who used to work up in Edinburgh, probably remembers
the painting being on display, and so they were absolutely delighted
when they had the opportunity to acquire it
for the permanent collection. They’ve been touring it
around the Highlands for quite a bit, allowing people in far-flung places
of Scotland to see the picture, but they asked us whether
we would be at all interested in showing it here in London
at the National Gallery, and of course we jumped
at that great opportunity. Daniel, how did the showing
of Rachel Maclean come about? Well, I’m quite lucky in so far that I joined
the National Gallery about a year ago with the remit
of restructuring our programme of modern contemporary art
here at the National Gallery, the way that we use
exhibitions and displays to provide a prism through which
to look at our historic collections with and to have a chance
to raise new questions, ask different things
and really gain new perspectives. And I was also very lucky that in my conversations with Susan we quite quickly found that there is a lot of overlap of Landseer and the ‘Monarch of the Glen’s
image history, the idea of how an image
gets proliferated, becomes a popular image, becomes an image that is
very well known to a lot of people and by that also contributes to how a particular region,
in this case Scotland, is perceived. While we were discussing that,
we were thinking it would be interesting to show a contemporary Scottish artist, whose works and whose work
and practice really reflects that very notion,
how images are being used, how images of the past gain a new life, and also how national identities and the way we visualise them get created, that’s what Rachel Maclean does, and I think that’s what makes
for the interesting dialogue between these two exhibitions. Absolutely, so we’ll come
to Rachel’s work in just a moment, but we want to start off with Landseer and with the famous ‘Monarch of the Glen’. Susan, do you remember when the first time was that you saw
‘The Monarch of the Glen’? That’s a very good question,
it must have been years ago, making visits to the National Galleries
of Scotland in Edinburgh, when it hung very high up, and in fact a few people have said to me
about this show here: “Oh, I’m so used to seeing it high up,
I’ve never seen it so close before.” It was originally conceived for
a high way of display, is that correct? Well, we think so. Landseer was the most famous painter
of his day in the Victorian era, Queen Victoria’s famous artist, and in the 1840s he was given
one of the great public commissions that resulted in him painting
‘The Monarch of the Glen’, and we’ve slightly turned around,
I suppose, Landseer as the great painter of
the Scottish Highlands in this exhibition, because we want to talk a little bit
about the great commissions for London and Trafalgar Square. We’ll come to Trafalgar Square
in a moment, but of course in the 1840s many artists were being commissioned to paint for the Houses of Parliament, which had burned down famously
in the 1830s. There was this wonderful new
gothic building going up, the building we see now, although it’s
half-shrouded in polythene at the moment, I think everybody knows it. But not everybody knows that Landseer
was commissioned to paint this picture and two others for the Refreshment Rooms
of the House of Lords. So, he was going to make three paintings that had to go along
with Lords eating their food, and he perhaps drew inspiration from that great tradition going back
to the 17th century in the Low Countries where artists like Rubens and Snijders made these great paintings
of food of different types, which often included game of all kinds, food of all kinds, a cornucopia of food that was suitable for paintings
in dining rooms. We don’t really know what else
Landseer had planned because there seems to be
no trace at all of the other two paintings
he was commissioned for. Interestingly, they probably were meant
to hang quite high up in the refreshment rooms, but the money ran out. So, what Landseer did then
was to make the best of the situation and to put ‘Monarch of the Glen’ on view in the Royal Academy’s
annual exhibition. And at that time, in 1851, the Royal Academy shared
the National Gallery’s building, the Wilkins Building that you see
from Trafalgar Square was the left-hand side
the National Gallery, and the right-hand side the Royal Academy. And so Landseer’s ‘Monarch of the Glen’ first got its public viewings
in the National Gallery rooms alongside great paintings
by Pre-Raphaelites and many other Victorian artists. It’s really extraordinary, I think,
to think of that now. In a way, it’s a certain homecoming
of the stag to Trafalgar Square. It absolutely is, it’s a homecoming, and it’s a London aspect to what otherwise perhaps seems
a very Scottish image. In that way, it’s also testament
to Anglo-Scottish relationships in that they’ve always been built
on politics, on trade, on culture, on individual relationships
and on artistic exchange, artists coming to London,
going to Scotland and vice versa. And I think Landseer is just
a fantastic example of that as well. Yeah, absolutely. So, the painting after it was exhibited
at the Royal Academy was sold privately, and it passed through the hands
of a few private owners, but that didn’t mean that it didn’t become
even more well-known, even while Landseer was still alive, because his brother Thomas was an engraver and so a lot of his work came from
making engravings of Landseer’s paintings, and that was one of the ways
of popularising art and imagery in Victorian England. You could buy or subscribe
to editions of engravings after very famous paintings, often the ones that had been shown
at the Royal Academy. So, Landseer’s painting became
immensely well-known in the second half of the 19th century. And then it came into the possession
of the Dewars, and the Dewars, of course, I’m sure
you know from your time in Scotland, were the owners of a whisky brand, and so that became ‘The Monarch’s
path to fame in the 20th century, being shown on whisky bottles, but also on the labels
of many other products including soap and soup for example. So, it’s an image that has really
never escaped our public consciousness. That kind of image archaeology
is interesting to me. My very personal background
is not just as a Curator at the National Galleries
of Scotland, originally, but also to be very involved with
the cabinet of prints and drawings there, and one of the interesting
histories of art in the 19th century is also the more and more
proliferated image circulation. We have printmaking, but we also have the development
of photography and advertisement, so the idea of being able
to reproduce an image via engraving, but later also via photo engraving
and photolithography to make it for particular users
of popular context, be it, I think you mentioned soap labels,
whisky labels, products of everyday use really endeared this painting and image as a derivative of that painting
to an entire nation, I’d say. We’ll come back to the notion of ‘The Monarch of the Glen’
as an image in a moment, but let’s just take a moment to look at it
a bit more closely as a painting… …and talk about how Landseer came to create
this extremely striking image, because it was a work that was,
in a way, definitive of his career and his representation of animals. And it was a very different image
of a stag. We’ll see in a moment a painting that Landseer painted
much earlier in his career, but it’s this focus on the animal,
completely alone, with no people,
no hint of people around it, that I think is so powerful
and so striking. When it was shown at the Royal Academy, there was a piece of poetry
printed alongside it, that was often the case
with those catalogues. It was a piece of verse about this stag stepping out
in the early morning mist and sort of sniffing the air around him. And I think in the way
that Landseer has posed the animal, the way that he looks to the left,
he seems to be looking about him, you get that sense,
and of course you’ve got the mist which is going to perhaps disperse
as the sun comes up and the day gets hotter. And then you’ve got that very
extraordinary compositional device in which that stag is absolutely right
in front of you, right in front of us, and in reality, of course, a stag
would have sensed human beings so close. So in the painting,
Landseer is doing something that could almost never happen
in real life, and it’s that that gives that sense that he really is the monarch
of all he surveys. I think it’s interesting to think about
the way the animal is represented and what we see, the actual antlers,
there’s 12 points to it, so it’s one of the largest set of antlers
that a stag can grow. And I believe there’s also a link
to hunting privileges, correct? Perhaps you know more about that
than I do. That might be something I need to look up. But it’s something that’s very rare, and thus as an animal very desired, and the label of the “monarch”
also, I believe, comes from this twelve-point antler,
almost crown. And what I find interesting when
I think about how we view the painting, looking from our position as viewers
into this fictional space, the stag actually looks above us, so he surveys us
as people looking at the painting as much as we look at him from a slightly lower angle
from our position of view. I think it sort of suggests
a completely different relationship between the animal and the natural world
and the human world, and it’s one that actually people
in recent years have associated with the rise
of a different understanding of creation, the rise of Darwinism, and we know that actually Darwin did have
some images by Landseer in his study, so Landseer and his view of the animal perhaps had a bearing on Darwin’s
own thinking, which is very interesting. What I think is also interesting is to think a bit about how Landseer
constructed this image which has such associations
with Scotland and the Scottish Highlands, because he painted it here in London in his studio in St John’s Wood. We know that he kept a menagerie there, so that he could study animals. He’d been studying animals very closely
right from the start of his career. If you go into the exhibition,
you’ll see some examples of his close studies, but he would have had deer
in the menagerie, so he had every opportunity
to study them very close at hand. He would also have had a number
of his landscape sketches, he made beautiful oil sketches
and oil paintings of landscapes. I was sorry we didn’t have enough room
to include any in the exhibition. So, that’s something that he was also
bringing into this painting. And then as I think we’ll see
perhaps even better in the next slide, Landseer is a beautiful painter. And that was one of the reasons
that I was very excited that we were going to show his work
in the National Gallery, as I think, as I hope you can see
very well in the detail, where you can see the way in which he
creates the effect of dew on the ground, like sea spray almost, and the wonderful way
in which, with his brush, he’s given you the sense
of the coat of the stag. The landscape itself… Susan, do we know…
We know it’s not a “plein air” painting, he didn’t stand in Scotland
with a palette and an easel. Do we know where the geography
comes from? Is it a realistic one? Is it a composite one pieced together
from different places, how does it work? I think it’s not intended
to be topographical. I’m sure there are people who will say: “I recognise that particular
mountain range and those glens.” So perhaps composite is the more
accurate way of thinking about it. He wanted a glorious
and impressive mountain background to set off the image of this single stag. If we just take the next slide, which is a painting
that’s included in our exhibitions, a painting in a private collection, one that’s normally on loan
to the National Galleries of Scotland, I think we can just see
how far Landseer moved from this painting,
which he made in the middle of the 1820s, to ‘The Monarch of the Glen’, and what an extraordinary image
it then is. So, this is a very busy painting because it includes portraits
of Landseer’s great patron and lover, the Duchess of Bedford, on the right, and her family, her brother and her son. It does include a beautiful landscape, which may well be more specific
than the one in ‘Monarch’, and it also includes a whole variety
of animals, alive and dead. It celebrates a day out
in the Scottish Highlands for this aristocratic family. And it uses some aspects
of what we can see or what we recognise as
“This must be a Scottish painting”, that were in themselves also creations,
composites and constructions. I’m looking at the tartans, I’m looking at some of these elements
that are put into the painting almost as signposts and signifiers of: “Here we are in a particular place
and time”. I think it speaks to the romanticisation of the Scottish Highlands in the 19th century by Landseer’s patrons and then translated into paint
by Landseer himself. These aristocrats who liked to dress up
in the traditional tartans, the plaids which were worn
by native Scottish people, who were obviously much poorer, but it was becoming extremely popular to spend time each year
in Scotland hunting. So, Landseer himself went up to Scotland from the early 1820s,
from a very young age, he met Sir Walter Scott,
who, in his books, was also responsible for this popular romantic idea
of the history of Scotland, and then from 1842
Queen Victoria herself and Prince Albert would come up to Scotland every year, and, of course, that resulted
in their making Balmoral Castle their summer residence in the Highlands. I suppose it’s easy to forget
in the face of these images what life in Scotland was like
for ordinary people. In the 1840s, for example, we know that they had in Scotland
a potato famine just like in Ireland at that time, it wasn’t as devastating
as the potato famine in Ireland, but nevertheless people
were extremely poorly off in the Highlands of Scotland. So, what we’re seeing here
is a very partial and rather romanticised view of Scotland. Which very often also was contested
by later generations of Scottish citizens and Scots in general in terms of how their own place
was represented in art by others. What I notice
when I look at the paintings is also just his real interest
in animal anatomy, in animal, also, composition. And I think that’s a real link
to another London aspect of Landseer that I think this show shows
that we rarely get to see, and that’s the Lions in Trafalgar Square. The Lions in Trafalgar Square, a commission that Landseer
was given in 1858 that cost him several years of his life and presented him with, perhaps,
a degree of difficulty and challenge that he had not previously encountered
in his illustrious career as a painter of animals. This, of course, is one of the lions,
I’m sure we all know them very well, they’re on view just outside the Gallery. But this was
a very controversial commission because Landseer was a painter and so he immediately got a bad press: “Why is this painter being given
a commission to make sculptures of lions?” Well, others had turned down
this commission. Nelson’s Column, the monument, had been up in Trafalgar Square
long since, but it was still not yet completed by
the four sculptures of lions at its base. So, Landseer took on the commission and he seems to have felt
slightly paralysed by it because it took him several years
to actually produce the sculptures, and he needed a bit of help
to do them as well. If you go into the exhibition, you’ll see some of the beautiful drawings
of lions that he made and also a large oil sketch, a life-sized sketch
of a lion at London Zoo. By that time, Landseer was
very frequently visiting London Zoo specifically to record images of lions. But when it came to actually making
the sculptures, as we see here, he needed the help of a professional
sculptor Carlo Marochetti, and so the painter John Ballantyne
has shown him here in Marochetti’s studio working on these clay sculptures that were going to be cast in bronze
to make the images that we see today. And yeah, this image after an image I think is a nice little segue
to another work in the show. Then not only can you see
those two lion paintings, you can see the drawing of a lion
in the corner of a painting, this is also one of the modern works
that we have in that exhibition. Well, we’re very fortunate
to be able to include this painting in a private collection
made by Sir Peter Blake, who was our associate artist back a few years ago
in the National Gallery, and he was asked to create a pair to a painting of Highland cattle, and he chose to make an image after what was already, of course,
a very famous image, Landseer’s ‘Monarch of the Glen’. And this was back in the 1960s,
in 1966, the era of pop art, when Peter Blake was making images that were often composites
drawing on the history of art, drawing on popular image. And in a way, I suppose, you could say
that this image brings together both its both, almost, a famous old master and it’s a popular image,
well known from its appearance as we said already on whisky,
on soup and on soap. I think what you can see
is that Blake did not opt for a meticulous one-to-one copying
of the Landseer, the colours seem different,
they seem broader, they seem more consolidated. Part of that is because Blake,
if I’m not mistaken, is working in acrylics here, so something that was
a fairly recent innovation in painting technique in his time. The other thing is that in 1966 more and more artists were looking at
reproduction, techniques of reproduction, and in particular screen printing
and printing techniques, in general as a means of…
new approaches of making art, rather than advertisement
or commercial ways of reproducing things. Only recently had screen printing
been adopted into the cannon of fine art, and the aesthetics of screen printing
make for consolidated colours, different colour schemes, something that Blake is actually doing in his translation, transliteration
almost of Landseer’s painting, it becomes a painting about painting,
but also about the reproduction and the proliferation of images. So, in the exhibition when you
finish looking at the Peter Blake, we invite you to cross over the landing and come and see Daniel’s show… …which is ‘Rachel Maclean:
‘The Lion and The Unicorn’. So, how did this come about? Why Rachel and why this film? Yeah, for me as
the Curator of Special Projects, the idea was really to take
our ‘Landseer’ show as an opportunity to see how contemporary artists today benefit from looking at our collections
and exhibitions, how certain traditions in art history don’t just continue from one day
to the next but across generations and are really relevant to contemporary
makers and practitioners now. Rachel Maclean is
one of the most innovative, astute and acerbic artists
of her generation. She’s 31 years old, I believe, and she was born in Edinburgh, lives and works in Glasgow, and has a very smart way
of looking at image histories, looking at the construction
of national identity and the representation in visual media, and for me she was one of the clear
candidates for a dialogue like this. So, we were actually lucky
in inviting Rachel to show a 2012 film of hers, ‘The Rachel… Rachel and the Unicorn’?
‘The Lion and the Unicorn’, which takes its title from the heraldic
attendants of the royal coat of arms, the Scottish unicorn and the English lion, and Rachel makes
a moving-image work out of this, which we are showing in several prints, and I would love to show you some examples of how an artist like Rachel Maclean is actually in dialogue
with our collections and with the past
with an artist like Landseer. It’s perhaps worth also noting that Rachel has been
very involved in designing the entire setting for the film
and her prints, as you’ll see in the show. Yeah, absolutely,
if you have the chance to have a look at our Sunley Room after the discussion, please do look at her dressing
of the entire room. She’s very interested in set dressing
as much as in other means of stagecraft, but she’s very interested in fringing
in pink and blue colours, in the poufs,
as I have now learned they’re called, particular stage set devices
for sitting on. So, it’s been
a great, fun exhibition to do, but also working with an artist
who really understands these references of staging exhibitions, reference the history of art,
the history of institutions and the history of exhibitions itself. She does that in her film,
‘The Lion and The Unicorn’. It’s only 11 minutes,
so please do go and have a look at it. It starts with a frame story, where we see the allegorical figure
of a queen, half Mary Queen of Scots, half Queen Elizabeth, and maybe with a dash
of just fairy-tale queen in there as well. And we see this queen inviting us
to the setting of Traquair House, a historic Jacobite house
on the borders of Scotland, and she sets a frame story of introducing us to the main characters
of the play, so to speak, which are the Lion and the Unicorn. And we can see the artist
deliberately involving garish costumes, strange prosthetics, gaudy colours, and playing on the idea of tartan tat
as a received idea of Scotland, as a received visualisation of Scotland. Daniel, the extraordinary thing
is all these figures are played by Rachel herself. That’s true, yes. In general, she always plays
all the characters in her films herself. She then uses green screen as a method to compose these films together
in this historic setting, and she also composes,
and in a way makes a composite, just like Landseer uses
a composite method for his paintings, Rachel does that in the medium of film through found audio. So, she uses existing audio, in her case snippets
and collaged bits and pieces from the Queen’s 1957 Christmas address. So, a piece of popular culture, one of the first addresses to the nation
by the regent in the medium of television, but also snippets giving us the audio of Jeremy Paxman
and Alex Salmond in the run-up to the Scottish
independence referendum, discussing the ins and outs
of fiscal policy, using both political discourse and what have become
maybe popular culture items that the artist then mashes together
and cuts and pastes into her works. In a way, we have, for instance, the lion with a garish wig, coming across as pompous in his red coat and addressing questions of sovereignty. At the same time, the artist shows us a Scottish unicorn in response and how this character
becomes quite gluttonous and finally doesn’t succeed
in its political ambitions is also part of the story. It’s important
that the artist herself says that she does not try to take position
in this political debate, but rather wants to incite questions
in the viewers, in us, to discuss the merit
of the political question but also the stagecraft
of this political polemic that she exposes in her work. It’s extraordinarily cleverly done, particularly the way in which
she has sort of synced to the voices that she includes behind these characters. I mean, when you see them speak,
it seems entirely natural but at the same time it’s totally
unnatural and very extraordinary. It’s also extremely amusing, I think. I mean, she does have
this fine satirical sense. It’s important for us as art historians
but also as visitors in museums to understand that satire, of course, is one of the very, very traditional tools
of political analysis and of artistic analysis. In order to actually poke fun
at something, we need to understand how it works, we need to be keenly appreciative
of how something is done in order to successfully dismantle it
and put it up for ridicule. And I think that is actually something
Rachel does very well when it comes to art history
and her compositions and the digital prints
that accompany her moving images. This is one of a series of three,
it’s a triptych, a very traditional format of painting,
of course. This is a print,
‘Saint George and the Monster’, 2013, and we can see how
we have an English Saint George on a Scottish unicorn
slaying a tartan dragon that in a kitschy way lays in a pool of North Sea oil
on the floor. Yes, that’s interesting,
the North Sea oil, because in the video, in the film, they drink a very viscous-looking,
dark wine and I’d wondered whether
that was intended to be oil actually. I suspect very strongly that there’s
a clear reference to North Sea oil and the wealth it brings, but also the gluttonous
consumption thereof. I think it’s also, in Rachael’s case, a link to a very famous
1980s play from Scotland. I should know the title.
I think it’s called ‘The Stag’, and I’m sure somebody
can tell me the title afterwards, but I think it’s ‘The Stag, the Sheep
and the Dark, Dark oil’ or something. I need to look it up again, but there’s a very particular political and entertainment,
popular culture reference there. Here, of course,
we have the reference to Paolo Uccello in terms of the
‘Saint George and the Dragon’. As we found out actually only
in our recent conversations with Rachel, the artist actually visited
the National Gallery years ago in about 2012 to sketch from our paintings
here in the Gallery and this is how some of the drawings which then made the prints came about. Satire, of course, is something
that has been around for a long time and in a way it’s interesting for us
to ask why it has come out of fashion. I would posit that nowadays the main mode of artistic appreciation and analysis is one of rather sombre
pontificating about art, sometimes which
I’m sure I’m guilty of as well, but I think we should keep in mind that satire has been around
for a very, very long time, particularly the tradition
of the grotesque is one that we very rarely
engage in anymore nowadays, but it has been around as a staple
in art history for a long time, just as a case in point
we here have Quentin Massys and his ‘Old Woman’ from around 1513 with her headdress
and her very distinct facial features. The garishness of the dress
and the satire of the attire is something that Rachel
is very interested in, that we see an echo of in her 2013 print. I mean, I wondered how unusual
you thought it was for an artist today to be using humour
in the way that she does. I actually think it is…
it’s not completely uncommon, it’s something that does happen a lot,
but then I think in a way we have a certain hierarchy of criticism
at the moment and the more… …maybe Juvenalian sense of satire, admonishing and reprimanding is more
common in contemporary art criticism than it used to be,
and I’m not sure why that would be, I think there’s a certain way that I think people sometimes are afraid of satire in the more Horatian sense, maybe they’re afraid
of not having enough gravitas. Rachel doesn’t have that hang-up. I think she’s really interested in
putting in the boot and twisting the knife and using a satirical mode of analysis to have us look differently at our world. Can you say more about what’s going on
in this particular image? Yes, of course. So what we see on
the left-hand side in her print from 2013 is that we have
a little Hogarthian vignette that frames the image,
there’s tartan draped around it, and just as in a traditional still life, very often a piece of fruit
seems to loom over the edge, we actually have a golf ball
falling almost out of the painting into our field of vision. Such a Scottish symbol. Exactly, I think that’s very much
what Maclean uses as a little pun and a little stab at her own country, people who relish the game of golf and of course the economic power
that comes with it as well. Here, and finally,
we have a Scottish skeleton haunting Mary Queen of Scots, this allegorical figure that we can see
in the centre of the painting with this very, very staged facial attire, with lipstick that’s almost Orientalist in its way, and with the elaborate headdress
and the tiara the doings that we can see, all clad and presented
in a very, very highly dramatic and highly staged
and tongue-in-cheek fashion. You mentioned Hogarth,
I’m glad you mentioned Hogarth, because we do, of course,
have the whole satirical series, the ‘Marriage A-la-Mode’, after which Hogarth had prints made, and they are a series,
I mean, it’s a horrible satire really of the downfall of a family,
it’s shocking, but it is also extremely funny and I guess there is a direct relationship
in that way with what Rachel is doing. I think so, it’s very much a tradition
and a very strong British tradition that she works in as well,
this idea of satire. Then, of course, with Hogarth we have an
echo of the image proliferation as well, in that yes, he was a painter, but he was just as astute
a printmaker, publisher and proliferator of his own images. Again, just to make the case
about headdresses and satire and the grotesque being something
that’s firmly ingrained in the cannon of art history
that Rachel operates within, here we’ve got the Workshop of Marinus
van Reymerswale, ‘Two Tax Gatherers’, two grotesque figures that
are highly done up with headgear in order to make a political point. And I think that is something
that Rachel would have looked at when she made her films, when she did the sketches
and the preliminary work for her films. It’s interesting that
both these images you’ve chosen, the one we saw just now, the Massys,
which is known as the ‘Ugly Duchess’ because it was used
in the ‘Alice’ books for illustrations, and also this one. They’re both 16th-century paintings in which the sort of satirical intent is signalled by the fact
that people are wearing headdresses and costume from an earlier age, so it’s just like the way
that Rachel is dressing up in a very, very similar way to send that signal
that this is something satirical. Yeah, she’s doing that
in lots of different ways. One of the things
that we’re very happy about that will accompany the display that
you can see in our Sunley Room now is a feature-film length work that Rachel has recently commissioned which has been shown on BBC Four recently, which premiered here
in our auditorium in October. It’s a film that Rachel called
‘Make Me Up’, which is in a way… …a film that looks at the institutional complicity
of art institutions and others in the creation of oppressive
female body images. So, it’s a very strong work,
it’s extremely funny, also quite surprising
and quite tough, tough a view, but it’s something that’s
a really important and timely work that also uses these grotesque
aesthetics that she establishes, but also uses if not headgear per se,
then masks, prosthetics, and these signifiers of satire
to make a point. In the case of the new film,
it’s actually the signifiers of contemporary culture, of manga culture, of teenage fashions, of online aesthetics and the way people groom themselves
for dating pictures nowadays. All of these things are elements
that Rachel is interested in and quite cleverly
and acerbically dissects, reframes and presents to us
in a very smart, astute, but also very funny fashion. So, I think that there’s
an enormous amount to be got out of Rachel’s show, and in relation to Landseer’s show, all of these ideas around Scottishness,
satire and so on. So, if you haven’t yet been able to catch either ‘Landseer’s ‘Monarch of the Glen’ or ‘Rachel Maclean:
‘The Lion and The Unicorn’, I hope you’ll have the chance
to go and see them now or very soon. Thank you very much for listening to us.

Dereck Turner

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