Actuations and Other Works

Dundee, Scotland : 2019

Exhibition of archived works and materials at DJCAD.

19 June – 19 July 2019


Alastair MacLennan is a graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone and in 2019 donated his entire archive to his alma mater. The exhibition ‘Alastair MacLennan: Actuations and Other Works’ celebrated this gift and opened on the 5th floor of the Matthew Building on the 19th of June 2019. He received an Honorary Degree from the University of Dundee at its summer Graduation ceremony the same day.

An artist of the highest international standing, MacLennan is primarily known for his performance art but has also embraced painting, drawing, sculpture and installation at various points in his career. He established his distinctive form of performance, which he refers to as ‘actuations’, in the early 1970s and has performed and exhibited extensively since then, both individually and collaboratively.

The extensive archive gifted to the University documents more than 600 performances presented throughout the world. The exhibition featured drawings, objects, and video and photographic documentation of selected performances as well as some of his student paintings and works transferred in the 1990s from the collection of the then Scottish Arts Council.

Janice Aitken, Associate Dean for Public and Community Engagement at DJCAD, said of the exhibition: “It is most fitting that this exhibition will open on the day that Alastair MacLennan will receive an Honorary Doctorate and in the same ceremony at which our students of art and design will graduate.”

“Alastair is one of Britain’s major practitioners in live art and a distinguished and celebrated alumnus of Duncan of Jordanstone. Seeing his incredible body of work exhibited and hearing from him at their Graduation ceremony will be inspirational to the class of 2019 as they look to go out and make their mark in their chosen field.

“This exhibition draws heavily on the archive he very kindly donated to us in recognition of the foundation it provided for his later success and for what it continues to do for young artists to this day. What is particularly exciting is that we have been able to bring together examples not just from the part of his career for which he has been internationally celebrated but also his student work. It is the first time that work spanning his entire career will be shown together.”