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
- Digital color video, sound (projection), 14:47 min. loop Edition number three of four
- 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
- © 2001 Steve McQueen