North London's Cultural Guide

Rachel Maclean at Zabludowicz: ‘hard-hitting computer animation’

The big new autumn show at Kentish Town's contemporary art space is a proper day-out - and it'll make you think (as well as gasp)

It’s the new season at Zabludowicz, Kentish Town’s pioneering contemporary art gallery.

And as usual, it’s a relatively cerebral affair: headliner is the extremely up-and-coming Rachel Maclean, who last showed at the gallery in 2014. Her work offers what she calls a critique of our society’s “underlying fears and desires”.

But what the hell does that that actually mean? In short, way more fun than it sounds. The cavernous main room, with its chapel-high ceilings, is draped in curtains with a huge screen showing her manic retelling of Pinocchio.

Called Spite Your Face, it’s a rackety hyper-real and hyper-provocative mash-up of video and computer animation, with Maclean playing many of the extravagantly costumed characters herself: razor-sharp, there’s comedy and horror, and just a touch of laboured comment about the perils of consumerism. Allow time: it’s worth watching it all (on a continuous loop, around 40 minutes long) and there are seats.


Elsewhere, the middle room is where you’ll find I’m Terribly Sorry, a new commission in virtual reality, and the artist’s first piece in the medium (expect a dystopian urban British landscape of manic tourist merchandise); while the back room is showing new commission Make Me Up, premiering on BBC4 in November, another colourful big-screen short, this time highlighting the contradictory pressures faced by women today and “feminism’s challenge to patriarchal abuses of power”. Again the room is kitted out in appropriately disorientating style.

All in all? Hard-hitting stuff. You’ll need to work through it with a pint at the Brewery afterwards.

More info. Open Thurs-Sun (12-6pm) till 16th Dec, 28th Oct and 21st Oct respectively. Free, 176 Prince of Wales Road, NW5.

Main image: Courtesy of the artist and Zabludowicz Collection

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