A Painter In The House of Letters, 2021 Musee Delacrox Paris, supported by Fluxus
1-14 June 2021
The installation begins with a site specific installation that forms a passage winding around the edges of the Museum garden in a series of copper screens over which Mackrell has transcribed an entire section of Delacroix’s diary. “I had chosen to mouth Delacroix’s writings during the 1st – 14th June, 1824 to correspond to the same dates as the exhibition. Strangley as I began the work I realised the dates Delacroix had written his in 1824 fell exactly on the same days in the week as my exhibition as when Delacroix had written them in 1824, creating an uncanny sense of time travel as we move through this vast score of Mackrell’s hieroglyphic translation of the text. The use of white lipstick sitting over the shimmering copper plates also creates a sense of an unearthing or archeological an x-ray, scanning the rhythm, breath and patterns in Delacroix’s moods, thoughts and writings from his journal.
Entering into Delacroix’s Atelier are hanging two self-portraits by Mackrell, Self and Self help self made in white lipstick on archival boards. These works open up questions on an alternative take on the self-portrait. The grandeur and male ego exploration of ‘the self’ throughout the history of art, standing confidently and assured is something Mackrell has always found strange and uneasy to look at. By mouthing and kissing a reflection of himself onto paper the self-portraits setup a paradoxical gesture on sexuality, by dismantling the heroic artist or portraitist. At once these works are full of humour, but remain tinged with a sensuous act of touching. The oddness of this practice is further developed in the second portrait, Self help self where Mackrell portrays himself as two heads, one cradling and comforting his alter self.