In the Shadow of Your Smile, Bruce (2016)

17th January 2016, Tate Britain, London

In The Shadow of Your Smile, Bruce


Bruce McLean’s film In the Shadow of Your Smile, Bob was installed at Tate Britain in January 2016 when I participated in The Parallel Show #4, an interventionist initiative of Frans van Lent, and within this context decided to work with McLean’s film.


In his film, McLean is a younger artist mocking gently the older artist Robert Morris (the younger Dutch artist Malou van Dormaal mocked gently Frans van Lent and I as older artists in our conversations). McLean is an artist a generation or more older than me, and was of great interest to me as student, especially his more irreverent works: Pose Work for Plinths; the Nice Style pose band project; and In the Shadow of your Smile, Bob.


McLean is young, highly confident and amusing. At 52 in 2016, I was both older and younger than McLean (71 in 2016) and Morris (84 in 2016); relative to McLean’s film, I was 12 years older than the older Robert Morris and twice the age of Bruce McLean in 1970, but the young McLean maintains paradoxically the role of senior artist through historical contextualising. I used my shadow on the projection to participate in the film, endeavouring to stay under McLean’s mouth: In The Shadow of Your Smile, Bruce.


Note: I used the camera as a prop, to legitimate my actions to other observers. It provided a ‘reason’ for what could be considered as mildly transgressive behaviour. The increase in darkened video installations has engendered a new set of informal protocols in the practices of looking at art.


However, the presiding condition in the reception of art is that of the active viewer, moving in space relative to the work.


(More information on the Parallel Show #4 is available here: