Elysian Fields
by Sandie Macrae

image of a bright blue sky with thin white clouds


  • 1Still from Elysian Fields
  • 2Elysian Fields - installation
  • 3Elysian Fields - installation

Still from Elysian Fields


Cumulus, nimbus, cirrus, stratus, cumulo-nimbus, cirro stratus: these airy, Latinate names already hold some intimations of what clouds mean to us; slow, abstracted forms, serene and capricious, removed from the turmoil of history, situated above the conditions of weather which they largely determine.

Clouds move in an enviable freedom, forming and reforming, fading out or gathering volume, encountering few obstacles more tangible than air pressure or less substantial than a mountain range. Drawing up the gaze to them, away from the earth, they act as a delay, a momentary adjustment, before the wider equanimity of a blue sky. Subject to continual change, clouds are floating, mortal introductions to eternity.

The compulsion within contemporary art is, rightly, towards relevance but it is possible to feel that the notion of relevance is often too strictly determined. While many issues are addressed, problems of immediate concern in political, social or personal life, there is little understanding that these do not cover the whole area of an alienating, yearning subjectivity, that something leaches away. There is seldom room for desire which has the volume and pace of clouds. Perhaps human longing is for a world that is not at every point a relentlessly human world.

While Sandie Macrae brings the clouds into the gallery, allowing us to move among them, at the same time, at least as effectively, she removes the gallery from mundane space into a more open an voluptuous region. This new space is both literal and imaginal, and includes both presentation and representation. Images of clouds are projected onto simulated clouds. We look at them and walk through them. This might be one definition of the gods; that they move in a world of their own imagining. Art has seldom confined itself for long to a realist position, to holding up a mirror to established facts, and the best art has often criticised the status quo in a more positive manner, by creating small models of alternative conditions. If the gods are at play in ‘Elysian Fields', in a vaporous world of light and colour, to know about them is to join them.

Thomas A. Clark
(Taken from the f.stop Gallery exhibition guide)


Year 1993
Duration 3 minutes
Original format
Screening format
Aspect ratio
Colour / B&W Colour
Screens Installation

Screening history:

21 May – o4 June 1994
f.stop gallery, Bath


Picture This, Southwest Arts, f.Stop Gallery & Green Park Station