Critics’ Picks

Jacqueline Donachie, Pose Work for Sisters, 2016, video, color, silent, 10 minutes 1 second.

Jacqueline Donachie, Pose Work for Sisters, 2016, video, color, silent, 10 minutes 1 second.


Jacqueline Donachie

The Fruitmarket Gallery
45 Market Street
November 11, 2017–February 11, 2018

Our existence in the world is entirely dependent on other people. These sometimes tenuous yet multifarious relationships are at the heart of Glasgow-based artist Jacqueline Donachie’s mid-career show here. Downstairs, the artist has updated a work from 1995: Advice Bar (Expanded for the Times), 2017, where drinks are offered to punters in exchange for their dilemmas. Manned by a youthful staff, the piece creates moments of engagement and unity in a divided world.

Upstairs, the video Pose Work For Sisters, 2016, an homage to Bruce McLean’s Pose Work For Plinths, 1971 (a hallmark of performance art, where the artist satirically enacts the mien of Henry Moore sculptures) is redone by the artist and her sister, who has myotonic dystrophy, a hereditary condition that causes her to move in a strikingly different way from her sibling. Their sororal similarities are conspicuous, as are the differences in physical capabilities as the pair balance, stretch, and bend into place on a monitor resting on a corner of In the End Times, 2017, a dark-gray nonslip ramp made at an angle and length required by disability laws in the UK. Meanwhile, the lime-green scaffolding poles of Walk With Me, 2017, crisscross the gallery and force standing viewers to duck in order to pass through. It bears a family resemblance to Winter Trees, 2017: a grouping of tall, thin scaffolding poles that function as portraits of Donachie’s relatives. Physicality in space is common to us all. But it’s our experience of that space, with its frequently invisible privileges and disadvantages, that continually isolates us.