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Caribs' Leap/Western Deep

Film still of ocean, orange sunset, small boat in shadow.

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  • Film still of ocean, orange sunset, small boat in shadow.




Steve McQueen
English, born 1969

About this artwork

British artist Steve McQueen’s projected video and film installations are rich in cinematic tradition and compelling in content. His earliest works—black-and-white silent films—are indebted to 1960s structural filmmaking, wherein the mechanics of shooting and projection become essential components of the film’s subject. His more recent work explores the relation between the medium and the spectator. At once confrontational and seductive, these colossally scaled works transform a purely visual experience into a visceral event. Presented as a single installation, Caribs’ Leap and Western Deep are linked by the theme of descent. The dual-screen projection Caribs’ Leap juxtaposes luminous scenes of the beachfront on the island of Grenada—the birthplace of McQueen’s parents—with irregular images of tiny figures falling through a vast sky. The latter pay homage to the island’s indigenous Caribs, who in 1651 leapt to their death rather than surrender to the invading French. In Western Deep, the viewer takes a nightmarish journey into the hot, noisy depths of a South African goldmine. Presented and considered together, these two films suggestively liken modern mining conditions to a historical act of genocide.


Currently Off View


Contemporary Art


Steve McQueen


Caribs' Leap/Western Deep


England (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Caribs' Leap: 8mm and 35mm color film, sound, transferred to two-channel digital color video (projection), 28:53 min. loop, and 12:06 min. loop, edition number two of four; Western Deep: 8mm color film, sound, transferred to digital video (projection), 24:12 min. loop


2 of 4

Credit Line

Marilynn Alsdorf Discretionary, Arabella Decker, Wilson L. Mead, and Modern and Contemporary Discretionary funds; Robert and Marlene Baumgarten Endowment

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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