Jacqueline Donachie is interested in the structures, platforms and spaces (both actual and conceptual) in and through which we construct and support ourselves.
The concept for her video work Pose Work for Sisters, 2016 came from her consideration of the work of Bruce McLean, specifically his photographic and performance pieces Pose Work for Plinths, 1971. Donachie found the use of both the term and the action of posing, employed throughout Bruce McLean’s practice, to be compelling. The staged format of McLean’s original photograph, with its playful, spirited images of a young man awkwardly posing in a staged setting reminded Donachie of a set of photographs taken with her sister Susan in 1995, long before she was diagnosed with a genetic illness. The artist decided to capture a moment their physical similarity had begun to separate, when Susan was expecting her first child. In the piece, two women wearing black are walking, sitting and standing. When they are static, little separates them, but as they move on and off the plinths there are subtle differences in gait, posture and ability that speak of inheritance in many forms. Deciding against studio lighting, the two had to work quickly to make best use of daylight; a spontaneous, uncomplicated session measured mainly by what Susan could and could not physically manage.
Following the making of this work, Donachie came across a black and white photograph that was taken in her studio, also in 1995. This shows a number of her ‘posed pieces’ on a contact sheet on the wall, including those taken with her sister, alongside a full-sized single portrait of Donachie herself from the same series. Exhibited as a new print (Studio 1995, 2016), this work provided a subtle framing for Pose Work for Sisters, in indicating this early body of work, the use of black and white photography and contact sheets, and a striking image of a young woman posing.
Text based on an extract from Illuminating Loss: The capacity for artworks to shape research and care in the field of genetics; Jacqueline Donachie, Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University 2016.
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.
- Artwork Details: 110 x 180cm
- Edition: 2 of 10
- Material description: Digital print on Hahnemühle photo rag
- Credit line: © the artist
- Medium: Print
- Accession number: ACC4/2018