Hidden Door

Miriam Mallalieu

Visual Art

Lifting, turning a page and sliding a bookmark into 2019, Miriam’s research into methods of cataloging, archiving and curation shall see her present a body of work responding to the transformative powers of knowledge and the mechanics of organisation within learning structures. In 2017, Miriam adorned the ‘blank canvas’ of walls of the dressing rooms of the Leith Theatre with an intricate collage installation exploring ideas of ‘making sense’ of the world as presented through archival documents such as the Encyclopaedia Brittanica. Having recently shown her work in solo shows in Dundee, Miriam continues to make enquiries into the value of knowledge and the dissemination of information in a world awash with political turmoil and indeterminable futures.


Miriam Mallalieu recently started a practice-based PhD at Duncan of Jordonstone. She has won several prizes for her artwork including the John Kinross Scholarship (2017), RSA Prize and Watters Maclane Medal (2013) from The Royal Scottish Academy. She has exhibited frequently in Scotland and internationally in Europe and the US.

For Hidden Door 2019, Miriam will present ‘The Library’ a sculptural installation that is the defining work of her career to date. Recently unearthed from storage, this is an opportunity to see a work that has been inaccessible for the past six years. The library is a monument to the fragment: scraps of paper and materials swept from the floor of the studio are pinned and elevated, like specimens within a catalogue of traces. Originally conceived as an exploration into the philosophy of time (moments, series, circularity), The Library became a Borgesian structure of order and absurdity, raising questions that have driven Mallalieu’s practice ever since.

Miriam presented ‘An Encyclopaedia of Existing Knowledge’ for Hidden Door 2017, an installation comprised of a collection of images, collated from those included in the Encyclopedia Brittanica (1948). In a sense, they displayed an image of the world as conceived at that point, but more than that, they show a vision of the future – a utopic vision of industry, skyscrapers and commerce. They expose a bias in ‘knowledge’, one focused on the life of suited, white, western males. There is an inexplicable quantity of colour photographs of dogs, but very few photographs of women.

600 plaster panels was a collection of images that does not show the world as it is seen but dictates the world as it thinks it should be seen, as a capitalist, white supremacist patriarchy. Knowledge is power.

Miriam also contributed to Hidden Door in 2016 and 2015, presenting installations entitled ‘The Archive’ and ‘The Menagerie’. Both installations used the contrasting characteristics of wood and porcelain as structural foundations upon which Miriam constructed her narratives.