Cinémathèque Robert-Lynen, Paris
Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
Bruce McLean, Soup (A Concept Consommé), 2010. HD Video, 4'54. Courtesy of the artist & Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin
Bruce McLean definitely films as a sculptor—as a thinker of the three dimensions. He also paints, performs, and photographs as a sculptor and as such he is offering since the late 1960s a body of work at once radical and subtle, aware of modern art history and cleverly irreverent. British, no doubt. Scottish certainly. With these films made between 1973 and 2013, linked by themes such as the spirit of the 1950s, the love of music, the practice of collage (audio and visual), and the couple, we'll go through four decades of creation during which Bruce McLean elaborated a critical thinking of these decades' successive aesthetics, a witty deconstruction of the art production.
In Crease Crisis, a man in a trench coat poses convulsively in a frenzied imitation of the American actor Victor Mature (1913-1999), whose portrait hangs on the wall: body as sculpture. In 1971, Bruce McLean co-founded Nice Style, the World's First Pose Band. In Soup (A Concept Consommé), in a restaurant a couple is having modern statues (Moore, Brancusi), reduced to cut outs in two dimensions: the ready-to-eat sculpture. False "eighties" trailers of "Art Films" remind us Bruce McLean was always attentive to the conditions of diffusion and media exposure of art, having collaborated with the BBC and made numerous public commissions in the 1980s and 1990s. A last trailer, Earache, An Opera Bouffant or How Elvis's Quiff Killed Johnnie Ray, highlights McLean's taste for short forms, visual puzzles, and parodic approach.
Born in 1944 in Glasgow, Bruce McLean lives and works in London. He sculpts from the age of six, having started with potatoes. His first solo exhibitions were held at Konrad Fischer in Dusseldorf in 1969 and the Nova Scotia College of Art Gallery (Halifax) in 1970. He participated in 1969 in When attitudes become forms (Kunsthalle Bern) and Op Losse Schroeven (Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam). He had solo shows in 2014 at Firstsite (Colchester), Grazer Kunstverein (Graz) and Leeds Art Gallery (Leeds).