Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Oscar-winning director returns to art with Tate show




Oscar-winning director returns to art with Tate show

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Oscar-winning British director Steve McQueen is now based between London and Amsterdam and is focused on championing diversity in the film industry. AFP

Oscar-winning director returns to art with Tate show

Oscar-winning British director Steve McQueen is returning to his art roots with a series of short films at London’s Tate Modern art gallery, offering a sensory exploration of black identity.

McQueen, who became the first black director to win the best picture Academy Award in 2014 for 12 Years a Slave, is now based between London and Amsterdam and is focused on championing diversity in the film industry.

Visitors to his new exhibition will be greeted by Static, a film of New York’s Statue of Liberty, scrutinising the iconic symbol from every possible angle at very close range against a deafening backdrop of the helicopter from where the footage was filmed.

“What interests Steve is our view of the world, how humans are trying to represent Liberty,” said Fiontan Moran, assistant curator of the exhibition.

7th Nov, 2001 features a still shot of a body while McQueen’s cousin Marcus tells of how he accidentally killed his brother, a particularly traumatic experience for the artist.

“Western Deep” is another visceral work, giving a sense through sights and sounds in an interactive installation of the experiences of miners in South Africa, following them to the bottom of the mine.

Ashes, meanwhile, is a tribute to a young fisherman from Grenada, the island where McQueen’s family originated.

The images of beauty and sweetness filmed from his boat are tragically reversed on the other side of the projection screen, which shows a grave commissioned by McQueen for the eponymous young fisherman, who was killed by drug traffickers.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Oscar-winning British director Steve McQueen is now based between London and Amsterdam and is focused on championing diversity in the film industry. AFP

Poetry

African-American singer, actor and civil rights activist Paul Robeson (1898-1976) is honoured in End Credits.

The film shows censored FBI documents detailing the agency’s surveillance of Robeson, read by a voice-over artist, for five hours.

“He is . . . testing the limits of how people can be documented in an era of mass surveillance,” said Moran.

In a similarly militant vein, the exhibition features the sculpture Weight, which was first shown in the prison cell where the writer and playwright Oscar Wilde was imprisoned.

It depicts a golden mosquito net draped over a metal prison bed frame, addressing the theme of confinement and the power of the imagination to break free.

The show runs alongside an exhibition of McQueen’s giant portraits of London school classes, many of which appeared on the streets of London last year.

“I remember my first school trip to Tate when I was an impressionable eight-year-old, which was really the moment I gained an understanding that anything is possible,” said McQueen, adding it was “where in some ways my journey as an artist first began”.

He recently told the Financial Times newspaper the difference between his art films and his feature films was that the former were poetry, the latter like a novel.

“Poetry is condensed, precise, fragmented,” he said. “The novel is the yarn.”

The exhibition opens on Thursday and runs until May 11.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Quarantine site in north Phnom Penh inaugurated

    A four-building quarantine centre in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district was formally inaugurated on January 6. The centre can house up to 500 people, according to Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng. At the inauguration ceremony, Sreng said the municipal hall had cooperated with the Ministry

  • ‘Beware of WhatsApp fraudsters’

    The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications warned members of the public who use WhatsApp to vigilantly guard against a new trick employed by hackers that involves the use of six-digit codes sent to potential victims via the popular messaging app. The ministry said hackers could