The work also recognises that much subtlety is lost in this type of transfer from one context to another. As a consequence, who we are and where we belong becomes open to change in ways impossible at their point of origin. A work made last year in New York focuses explicitly on this mutability. Buchanan painted T-shirts with ethnic statements, Dutch or Half Irish etc In the accompanying booklet, a text beneath the latter reads: 'I tell folk my dad’s Irish, my mum’s Polish. But that’s not really the truth, she’s Ukrainian but no-one knows where that is, so I just say I’m half-Polish.' Much of Buchanan’s work draws on an awareness and critical insight into the discourse around identity politics as it has developed over the last 20 years. His work stands in contrast to the kind of ethnic essentialism that has come to stand for debate about identity since the 1980’s. By translating a set of assumptions about identity or ethnicity from one situation to another (from the US to Europe or Scotland to England), he seems to be saying that it is possible to alter the sense of self, or at least to contain multiple possibilities within one identity.
Charles Esche, Coil, issue 5, Roderick Buchanan – Collision Discourse
Jack Tilton Gallery, New York with Jacqueline Donachie. Your Identity expressed as a fraction, painted on T-shirt's.