Kate McMillan

Instructions for another future VI

Kate McMillan - Instructions for another future VI

born 1974, Hampshire, United Kingdom 1982-2012, Perth, Australia
currently lives and works in London, UK
Instructions for another future VI  2018
digital print on silk chiffon, silk velvet, bronze loops, hagstone and bronze pebble
135cm x 96cm
Acquired in 2018

This body of works continues Kate McMillan’s investigations into history, memory and associations. She has repeatedly worked with textiles such as chiffon and silk velvets due to the diaphanous nature of these materials and how the flow or instability of fabric can encapsulate the volatility of meanings/readings. 

In this instance the layering is quite purposeful, in terms of seeing through to reveal more….in historical mythology the women who collected hagstones from the coastline and those who found hagstones with a hole in them supposedly could see into the future. This might have had connotations of being shaman or “witch” like. It is possible the term hag which is a derogatory term for women stemmed from this. The hagstones themselves are chalk-like, and Kate blends the use of real hagstones with made bronze stones. The bronze stone provide a weight at the base of the work - Kate spoke about the bodily reference in these works too as though history is sometimes a weight we carry low and deep….a burden we bear.   The chiffon over the ground of velvet is also sewn to look like windows through or views. The idea of draping the fabric from multiple points, rather than straight across at the top, has several possible references. Tapestries from history, theatre curtains and curtaining in churches. 

Her use of photography and its digital transference onto chiffon brings a contemporary accent to counterbalance the historical references. Kate is a multi-discipline artist who works across photography, film, print media and installation. In association with this body of work she wrote a script that was performed in voice by professional actors who wore a “spell dress” made by the artist which was fabric printed with images of the hagstones. The content of that script was part fact and part fiction as if through dramatising the content it further conveyed the elusiveness or fugitive nature of truths and stories.  

Text by Margaret Moore, 2018

© Kate McMillan