Please, Sir… by Rachel Maclean


Opening Thursday 2 May, 5pm – 8pm

St Kevin’s Arcade, 183 Karangahape Road

3 – 30 May | 10am – 5pm everyday and until 8pm Thursdays | FREE ENTRY


Internationally renowned Scottish artist Rachel Maclean to show in Aotearoa New Zealand for the first time with her ground-breaking and iconic film Please, Sir… as a Gus Fisher Gallery off-site exhibition at St Kevin’s Arcade on Karangahape Road.

Please, Sir…’ is a darkly comic adaptation of Mark Twain’s The Prince and The Pauper, exploring themes of greed, class and dependence within a cultural rhetoric of austerity and aspiration. Presented as a dual projection, the characters interact between screens, appearing to inhabit two distinct worlds. Shot entirely using green-screen, the work creates a synthetic, shape-shifting realm in which an Adidas-striped Oliver Twist mugs a Tudor Prince at knifepoint, a pauper steals £10 from the pocket of Simon Cowell and a vagrant youth is offered heroin by a well-dressed servant. Maclean is the only actor in the work and mimes to found audio plundered from a myriad of sources, including Britain’s Got Talent, Jeremy Kyle and The Apprentice. The characters wear heavy make-up, prosthetic noses and fake teeth, an appearance which sits somewhere between a Hogarth satire and the cheap-plastic grotesque of joke shop fancy-dress.


Based in Glasgow Scotland, Rachel Maclean (1987) was educated at Edinburgh College of Art.
Rachel Maclean has risen to significant acclaim with major contemporary films and art commissions, resulting in solo exhibitions in the UK and internationally. She was the recipient of the prestigious Margaret Tait Award in 2013, She has twice been shortlisted for the Jarman Award, and has achieved widespread critical praise for her film Feed Me, 2016, in British Art Show 8. Maclean also premiered her new film commission Spite Your Face, 2017, as representing artist for Scotland + Venice at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017. In 2018/2019, her new film commission, Make Me Up, 2018, premiered as part of the BFI London Film Festival before being broadcast on BBC, across selected UK cinemas and international film festivals.

Maclean has also been commissioned for TV and has featured on: Random Acts Channel 4 (2013 and 2016), ‘Billy Connolly, Portrait of a Lifetime’, BBC One Scotland (2017) and ‘Rachel Maclean: The Shopping Centre, Artist in Residence’ Channel 4, Bullring Birmingham with Firecrest Films and Channel 4 (2018).

Recent exhibitions and screenings include: Hooked at London Science Gallery, Kings College London (2018); I Was Raised On The Internet, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, USA (2018); Just Be Yourself, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane (2018); Over the Rainbow, National Museum of Australia, Canberra (2018); Wot u 🙂 about? at HOME, Manchester and Tate Britain, London (2016-17); We Want Data! at Artpace, San Antonio, USA (2016).

Projects and commissions in 2018 and 2019 include: Rachel Maclean Solo Exhibition at Zabludowicz Collection London; Rachel Maclean, KWM Artscentre in Beijing; I’m Terribly Sorry, Glasgow Short Film Festival; and curating Too Cute! an exhibition with Arts Council Collection in collaboration with Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery.

Rachel Maclean
Please, Sir… (2014)
Digital video still from 25-minute, looping split-screen video
Commissioned by CCA, Glasgow

This event is part of the Auckland Art Fair programme: