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Alastair MacLennan’s vision is profoundly humane. His subject matter is often grim – division and conflict being his principal themes, his persona while performing often appears equally sinister, though he conveys a deep sense of empathy, kindness and caring through obviously considered and precise movement. Throughout his practice each performance is directly related to the specific location and space rarely re staging the work. Bled Edge was performed in a former prison as part of EDGE’88 – Britain’s first ‘Biennale of Experimental Art’. He typically takes with him a number of objects and materials. Bled Edge was performed in England though the work was inextricably linked to the conflict in Northern Ireland including flags and barbed wire as props. BLED EDGE When disaster strikes, do we wash the blood, heal the victims, or polish the floor? To heal we make WHOLE. One tires of upstart assertion “double parking” as truth. What lies beyond the world of artifice, (yet manifests through it)? Communicate from there. Text from ‘Alastair MacLennan: Is No’, ed. Stephen Snoddy, 1988.

Dimensions Duration: 111 sec
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Purchase, 2021
Item NumberIMMA.4341
Copyright For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].
Image Caption
Alastair MacLennan, Bled Edge, 1988, Duration: 111 sec, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Purchase, 2021

For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].

About the Artist

Alastair MacLennan b.1943

Scottish artist Alastair MacLennan attended Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee. Best known for his distinctive form of performance art which he terms ‘actuations, his practice also embraces drawing, installation and the use of found objects, materials and artefacts. He has performed and exhibited internationally since the early 1970s. He represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 1997 and taught at the School of Art, Ulster University, from then until 2008.

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Important Notice


We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June.  A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. While we prepare to open our next exhibition Hilary Heron: A Retrospective on 24 May, there are two exhibitions to see Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s gardens and café are open to the public.