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Get a Perspective on the Artist Steve McQueen

Western Deep
Western Deep
Originally Published 09 April 2003

The Mead Gallery will be showcasing the work of Turner Prize winning artist Steve McQueen with the Perspectives series of informal commentaries by Warwick academics during April and May.

The exhibition focuses on two pieces by McQueen, Western Deep and Caribs' Leap, which will be exhibited at the gallery from 26 April to 26 May. The pieces have received critical acclaim from around the world and have been exhibited across Europe at a number of prestigious galleries. The exhibition represents a great honour for the Mead Gallery as this is the final showing in Britain before the works move to Barcelona. It will be the only opportunity to view the exhibits outside of London.

To provide an additional insight into the works the Gallery has invited three Warwick academics to present commentaries on specific aspects of the pieces to offer multiple perspectives on the works. Helen Legg, Assistant Curator at the Mead Gallery, said: "We have picked academics that are working on exciting subjects linked to the work's subject matter. They will talk about the work, but not in a direct way, picking on specific areas that relate to their own research."

Caribs' Leap is a personal exploration of the Caribbean home of McQueen's late Grandmother and the story of the islanders who chose to leap to their deaths rather than surrender to the French in 1651. McQueen made the film when he visited Granada for his Grandmother's funeral. Elements of the work echo the events in New York on September 11th and address issues of social and political ideolgies.

Western Deep is a study of the lives of South African miners in the deepest gold mine in the world, providing an insight into their pitch-black abstract world. McQueen filmed inside the mine and much of the work is focussed on the dehumanising and oppressive existence of the miners.

Helen hopes that the Perspectives commentaries will enable people to come to their own conclusions about the works. "People have a perception that works of art have a single, fixed meaning but we want to show that you can find multiple views of a piece," she explained. "The visual arts are a cross disciplinary arena and this is a chance for departments to get involved in the exhibitions."

In addition the gallery will also be hosting a conference related to the work on Saturday 17 May, The Amerindians:Quantum Leaps. José Arroyo, Film and Television Studies, will be In Conversation with McQueen on Tuesday 6 May.

Caribs' Leap Western Deep

Caribs' Leap

Western Deep

The Perspectives commentaries:
José Arroyo, Film and Television Studies, Wed 30 April 1pm
Professor Gad Heuman, Centre for Caribbean Studies, Wed 14 May 1pm
Jonathan Vickery, History of Art, Wed 21 May 1pm

Further details of the exhibition and other events are available from the Arts Centre website.