Pose work for Sisters

    Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products


    Digital video (no sound), 10:01 minutes, looped

    Pose Work for Sisters was commissioned by Glasgow Museums for the exhibition Deep in the Heart of Your Brain, 2016 and part funded by Northumbria University (doctoral research by the artist) and Glasgow Museums.

    'As it is mainly in movement, and not physical shape, that we now differ, film was an appropriate medium for this piece, and a studio session was organised with three plinths and a white backdrop. I asked Susan to dress in black (as McLean had done in the original), though beyond that the action was very simply choreographed: walk into the frame, sit/stand on the plinth, hold the pose for around 5 seconds, stand up, walk out of the frame. I decided against studio lighting, and so we also had to work quickly to make best use of daylight; it was a spontaneous, uncomplicated session measured mainly by what Susan could and could not physically manage. Each pose was photographed as well as filmed, but it was the moving image footage of us walking in and out of the frame and holding a series of bizarre and impromptu positions that was the most compelling. The setting of plinths against a white background and the grid of multiple poses a deliberate reference to McLean, and the looped repetition of the piece rendering a simple, rhythmic rise and fall to the work that offers an additional portrait of both similarity and loss to that seen in ‘Hazel’. Two tall, slim middle-aged women wearing black, walking, sitting and standing. Posing. When static, little separates us, but in moving on and off the plinths there are subtle differences in gait, posture and ability that speak of inheritance in many forms. It brings to mind the opening line of DM: ‘All my life I’ve been told how much I look like my sister.’

    Jacqueline Donachie
    Extract from Doctoral thesis Illuminating Loss, 2016
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationLondon, UK
    PublisherTate Britain
    Media of outputFilm
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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