EXPLORE THE DEPTHS OF STEVE MCQUEEN’S VISUAL ART CAREER
Celebrated for his powerful and uncompromising vision, Steve McQueen creates work that addresses the urgent issues of representation, identity and history. The Turner Prize-winning artist and Oscar-winning filmmaker is presenting an exhibition at Milan’s HangarBicocca featuring works from across his career, as well as a new video installation called Sunshine State. This presents a reflection on the beginnings of Hollywood cinema and the influence that it has had on the perception of issues of identity.
The exhibition has been curated by Vicente Todolí and has been organized in collaboration with Tate Modern London, where it was first presented. Featuring six film works and one sculpture, the show presents an opportunity to experience the depth of McQueen’s visual art career.
all images by agostino osio
‘I CANNOT PUT A FILTER ON LIFE. IT’S ABOUT NOT BLINKING.’ – STEVE MCQUEEN
Over the last 25 years McQueen (b.1969, London) has created some of the most innovative works of moving image designed for gallery spaces, as well as four critically acclaimed films for cinematic release: Hunger (2008), Shame (2010), 12 Years a Slave (2013) and Widows (2018). Taking a radical look at the human condition, its dramas and fragility, McQueen’s touching and thought-provoking work asks important questions about the construction of identity, belonging, and the right to freedom.
‘I am not interested in manipulating people. The complete opposite.’ said Steven McQueen. ‘I am interested in a truth… the most horrific things sometimes happen in the most beautiful places… I cannot put a filter on life. It’s about not blinking.’
SUNSHINE STATE BY STEVE MCQUEEN
Titled Sunshine State, and evoking the title of his latest work, Steve McQueen’s exhibition at HangarBicocca immerses visitors in the artist’s unique visual language, which aims to understand and penetrate reality and the meaning of existence. In his work, the language of visual art and cinema combine to explore current, pressing issues such as race and post-colonialism. Starting from the experience and oppression of black and racialized communities, McQueen develops a broader reflection on human beings and their identity. In his experimental films and videos, McQueen poetically projects his own presence onto the subjects represented, emphasizing the close link between bodily existence and subjectivity, between reality and its representation.
At HangarBicocca, the artist has taken over the Navate and Cubo spaces, where he has conceived a site-specific project. The non-chronological layout surveys McQueen’s career, highlighting his evolution during the last two decades. Opening with Static (2009), visitors are welcomed with an aerial shot of the Statue of Liberty alternated in rapid sequences. Close-up images disorient the viewer while questioning its symbolic function. In contrast, and closing the show is Western Deep (2002), a film portraying a complete different perspective, where the Super 8-shot images capture the harsh working conditions of miners in South Africa.
The other films on show are Carib’s Leap (2002); Charlotte (2004); and Cold Breath (1999). Joining them is Moonlit (2016), a sculpture where two marble stones covered in silver leaf sit side by side on the ground.