The season will include a two-part retrospective at Bernard Jacobson Gallery, the publication of a new book with essay by Mel Gooding and commentary by McLean and the premiere of a film by McLean and long-time ‘Nice Style’ collaborator, Gary Chitty, titled The Decorative Potential of Blazing Factories.
With characteristic subversive wit, in the early days of his career McLean created his own self-styled retrospective, with King for a Day at the Tate Gallery (1972). The genesis of King for a day was a seemingly contrary decision to stop being an artist, McLean explains, ‘I had heard that if you have a retrospective at the Tate, that’s the end of your life as an artist, so the obvious thing to do was to create a retrospective.’
Luckily for audiences and collectors across the intervening decades, this prophesy proved to be very far from the case. McLean has gone on to exhibit widely across the globe, including one-man exhibitions at The Modern Art Gallery, Vienna, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, MOMA, Oxford, Arnolfini, Bristol and GOMA, Brisbane and numerous important group exhibitions, including The Tate’s Conceptual Art in Britain 1964 – 1979.
This special season also marks the long working association with Bernard Jacobson Gallery, forged in 1984 with his first one-man exhibition at the gallery. Five Decades of Sculpture presents some of McLean’s key works, including painting, sculpture, photography and printmaking – a range of work which might seems surprising and contradictory given the title chosen by McLean, Five Decades of Sculpture. Mel Gooding in his opening essay for the book which accompanies these exhibitions attempts to outline some of the seemingly simple guiding principles at the heart of McLean’s irreverence.