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Girls, Tricky

A work made of digital color video, sound (projection), 14:47 min. loop
edition number three of four.
© 2001 Steve McQueen

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  • A work made of digital color video, sound (projection), 14:47 min. loop
edition number three of four.




Steve McQueen
English, born 1969

About this artwork

Steve McQueen creates reductive, often abstracted works, in which he pares down the projected image to its basic elements: light and dark, motion and stillness, silence and sound. His improvisational approach is often defined by the handheld camera, distilled but coded actions, gestures, performative expressions, and restrained postproduction editing.

In Girls, Tricky, McQueen portrayed the London-based experimental “trip-hop” musician and producer Tricky (born Adrian Thaws) as he rehearses a track in his dimly lit recording studio. Four days spent together in this confined space resulted in an intimate and sensitive representation of the singer. Of this experience, McQueen recalled:

“I wanted to get as close to the artist as possible. He has this certain je ne sais quoi, like Marlon Brando or James Dean. Tricky possesses a certain spontaneity, which also influenced the film. Tricky is someone who entrusts himself to his own voice and tries to find out where it may carry him. It’s a rare moment that you see an artist close up gearing himself up for a vocal performance in such a visual way. In effect, a moment not for camera is caught.”

Indeed, Tricky erupts into an ecstatic, frenzied performance over the course of nearly 15 minutes, yet by the end, it becomes clear that he has maintained command of both his senses and the recording session. Using extreme close-ups, very few cuts, and deliberately restricted lighting, McQueen captured the raw creative act in an intensely concentrated portrait, which is at once elusive, elliptical, and subtly transgressive.


Currently Off View


Contemporary Art


Steve McQueen


Girls, Tricky




Made 2001


Digital color video, sound (projection), 14:47 min. loop Edition number three of four

Credit Line

Wilson L. Mead Fund; through prior gift of Lucille L. and Joseph L. Block; Curator's, Cyrus Hall McCormick, and Arabella Decker funds; Claire and Gordon Prussian Fund for Contemporary Art

Reference Number



© 2001 Steve McQueen

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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