Pursuit (2005)

Steve McQueen
16mm film transferred to video 14 minutes
Courtesy of the artist; Thomas Dane Gallery, London and Naples; and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, Paris and Los Angeles


Steve McQueen is an artist and filmmaker whose practice explores the tactility and corporeality of the moving image, impressing upon his audiences a more acute awareness of their bodies in relation to physical space. Through minimalist narration and kinesthetic direction, McQueen approaches universal themes from the vantage point of small gestures and intimate moments, observed in granular and unusual detail. Operating at the nexus of the familiar and the intangible, his films allow sensorial experience and emotional resonance to precede and guide reason and judgment.
At Sharjah Biennial 15, McQueen presents Pursuit (2005), a filmic experiment revolving around the image of the artist, as he navigates around an Amsterdam park at night, wearing a jacket outfitted with white lights that magnify his movements against the nocturnal darkness. This spare, abstracted footage is projected on both sides of a screen installed in a space walled with mirrors and devoid of any other light source, engulfing the viewer in a surreal and uneasy atmosphere of infinitely reflected white orbs. Overlaid with a soundscape of laboured breathing, muffled footsteps and rustling foliage, the ambience of the film evokes the sensation of being followed through a dark and foreboding landscape. Deploying his own body and movements as a cinematic device, McQueen stages for the viewer in sensory detail the very experience abstracted in the installation, reconstituting it as one edged with a palpable sense of danger and disorientation.