Sara MacKillop | RKive Basics

March 24th 2021 – May 7th 2022


One definition of ‘publication’ is ‘to make public, or generally known’. Whilst publications, and the form of publications, have played a significant role in Sara MacKillop’s work in the past, here they make up the core of a new series of works presented in the gallery. The works on display however do not announce, broadcast or circulate as publications typically do, instead they tend to obscure, complicate and sometimes overwhelm with information. As such the works flicker between communicating and withholding.


This exhibition is made up of three series. An element from each series is extracted and presented in the front gallery and then repeated over the successive gallery spaces.


One of the three series, Book Blinds, are made from overstocks of A4 publications produced by the artist between 2010 – 2021, which she sliced in half lengthways with a guillotine. These newly cut publications are fixed together in a hand – stitched binding that mimics the mass-produced mechanisms of venetian blinds. Hung in front of shop-bought empty frames and somewhat blocking them, the gallery wall sitting directly behind is compressed into the object, becoming a kind of view. Now stacked one on top of the other or laid side by side,  the images and found texts from the publications find themselves falling into new configurations, completely reshuffled.


The Calendar Houses on the other hand are made from magazine files with calendars open and draped over the tops to form their roofs. With the houses drawing on the themes latent in the graphic design and colour of these stationery-shop sourced products, and what happens when they are re-combined, one of the house’s magazine file bodies in fact provides the title for the exhibition, it being derived from its product name. Another makes material the affinity of the houses’ structures and scale to ‘cuckoo clocks’ by featuring a clock mechanism and stylised hands mounted on its front. The combination of calendar and clock veers the object from storage to time management.


The final series sees the detail that is the patterns on the side of pencils which provides the fortuitous starting point for a series of digital collages. Starting from the outside of a standard paper size and filling up the rest of the space moving inwards, the pencils are enlarged, bent at the corners and rotated before being printed as wall-hangings using a ‘print-on-demand’ service. Deploying surface sheen and scale, such images, originally intended to attract attention by novelty or branding, are displayed in the gallery horizontally so that they resemble a series of digital screens.