Bruce McLean is one of the major figures of contemporary British Art.
Born in 1944 he studied at Glasgow School of Art (1961-63) and at St. Martin’s in London (1963-66), where he was taught by Sir Anthony Caro, Phillip King, Bill Tucker, Isaac Witkin and Peter Atkins. The course was very rigorous and encouraged a questioning enquiry into the nature of sculpture past, present and future. McLean responded by making a sculpture out of rubbish, water and other impermanent materials, and by using his own body to make action sculptures- and impersonate sculptures by others. Also produced were photographic works in which he often appeared. McLean lead the development of Conceptual art in Britain in the 1960s, often working outside in the urban and suburban landscape. Some of his works brilliantly sent up the solemnity of the art world and mocked established art forms. In 1972, he was given a one-day retrospective at the Tate Gallery at the age of 27 (King for a Day).
McLean’s work is in a permanent state of movement and invention; from the late 1960s, his range of media has included painting, printmaking, sculpture, film, photography drawing and live work; in all of which humour, scepticism and wit are central. His work seeks to challenge the concept of ‘sculpture’ and indeed of ‘art’ by creating work that questions establishment thinking, materials and methods of display.
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