“Lucy McKenzie – Prime Suspect” is the first international survey exhibition of the Brussels-basedScottish artist Lucy McKenzie. Bringing together approximately 80 works dating from 1997 tothe present, the exhibition brings together examples from all of the artist’s significant bodies of work.From her early works exploring the pageantry and iconography of international sport and the politicsof postwar muralism, through her engagement with fin-de-siècle architecture and interior design andmid-century Belgian illustration, to her ongoing research into the intertwined histories of fashion andretail display. 

Accompanying the exhibition, a talk was held between Mackenzie and curator Jacob Proctor in which Lucy explained her artistic practice and the progression of her works in the context of the survey show at Museum Brandhorst. Moving through her works inspired by travels in Germany Mackenzie explained the realisation she made of the importance of making work related to parts of history she was familiar with- at the time German painting and British pop culture- and less to her own, personal history. 

When asked about her works that contain emblems relating to the Olympics, Mackenzie described the connections this sports festival allowed across geopolitics, sexuality, aesthetics and design that she was able to directly bind into the paintings she was creating at the time. The relationship between the games and the mass media became suggestive of the stake history holds within the public sphere which filtered into Mackenzie's practice through a consideration of the function of art in society, appropriating poster designs that allude to a forgotten political history aswell as the failure of 20th century ideological art. Through personal negotiation of propaganda and media material Mackenzie reconstitues the power of images, converting "once real" into the sublime resonance of aesthetics.

From the past to the present, Mackenzie recalls the narrative that brings her current show together. “Mooncup” (2012) presents an enormous (unauthorized) advertisement for a realBritish maker of silicone menstrual cups. The key image of her show the Mooncup becomes a motif for the quality of the contents of the female body. : with the Mooncup we encounter fresh menstrual blood, not with the alienation of conventional sanitary products but like high quality paint. As it is diluted with water its Bordeaux tones are edged with Naples yellow, diluting further it becomes traced with light Cornflower blue. Mackenzie's works under this theme act as poster paintings for her film "The Girl Who Followed Marple". Part infomercial for a particular feminine hygiene product the film delivers its commercial message wrapped in the familiar yet skewed genre conventions of a made-for-TV thriller. 

As an actress in her film, made up and dressed up as a Miss Marple, it only felt a natural progression in the discussion for Mackenzie to go on to introduce Atelier E.B, a collaborative effort between the artist and best friend and designer, Becca Lipscombe. Mackenzie discusses the relationship between art and fashion and how art is so seduced by the human body, the catwalk, the glamour, immediacy and the mass market of fashion culture. Lucy wanted to engage with fashion through the minutiae of manufacturing, the difficulties of distribution but also practice a sensitivity to the working process to depict, like in paintings, the anti-spectacular. Mackenzie and Lipscombe's combined efforts have realised through creative display, the nexus of the overlap between art, design and commerce examining the ways in which fashion and display functioned within the restricted landscapes of official magazines and fashion houses and what this meant for individual consumers. 

Mackenzie's Brandhorst exhibition hints to the ways in which her works act as detective's stories each connected to one another often across long periods of time.  Lucy, as an artist, has a way of disappearing into the dense web of references she weaves in her work. In the context of this survey, the variation from one body of work to the next can almost give the illusion that one is visiting a group show. One of the reasons for this is that Mackenzie has developed a methodology that involved taking up and temporarily inhabiting the styles of other artists, movements and historical periods. In this she is more of a forensic pathologist than a counterfeiter or copyist: for Mackenzie, imitation operates not as a form of deception but as a means of understanding her subjects. 

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