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The British Council - Summer 2003

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 2003
Published by: British Council
Year published: 2003
Unpaginated.

image of The British Council - Summer 2003

B5 soft cover publication/monochrome and blue text with full colour illustrations/48 pages/produced by an organisation to showcase events and exhibitions outside of the UK

Title: The British Council - Art, Architecture and Design
Date: Summer 2003
Source/Published: British Council, Number 45
Cover image: Chris Ofili, Afro Lunar Lovers (detail), 2003 - Produced on the occasion of the exhibition within reach at the 50th Venice Biennale p.6. Back cover: Afro Lunar Lovers, 2003.

Catalogue produced by the British Council around programming of arts outside of the UK, the main focus being the 50th Venice Biennale, featuring the work of Chris Ofili.

From the section titled 50th Venice Biennale of Art, page 6: “He won the Turner prize in 1998 and has exhibited in many international institutions over the past decade. In June 2002 he presented new works in his exhibition Freedom One Day at the Victoria Miro Gallery, London and is currently exhibiting in the National Gallery’s touring exhibition Paradis, which opens at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, from 9 April to 29 June before showing at the National Gallery from 9 July to 28 September this year.”

 

 

Related people

»  Chris Ofili

Born, 1968 in Manchester, UK

Related exhibitions

Related venues

»  The British Pavilion, Venice

Venice, Italy

Chris Ofili | Within Reach - CD

Computer media relating to an exhibition, 2003
Published by: British Council
Year published: 2003
Unpaginated.

image of Chris Ofili | Within Reach - CD

Audio CD in a corrugated black card cover within shiny black plastic case/green and red text on black background/produced for the Venice Biennale 2003

Title: Chris Ofili | Within Reach
Subtitle: At the British Pavilion, Venice. 15 June - 2 November 2003
Source: In association with Victoria Miro Gallery; British Council; sponsored by Bloomberg

Track listing:
1) Adam Rock Featuring Motet - You Know
2) Attica Archive - Thinking About You
3) Charlie Dark - Afro Dreaming
4) Colour Of LIfe - What I See
5) Diablo - 12 Bar Sket
6) Dizzy Rascal - Jezebel
7) Dobie - Tulca Lake
8) Liha Okunniwa - Empty Conduit
9) Opposite Ends Of The Youth Club - Wah-Chu-Ku
10) Shingai Shoniwa - So Long
11) Spacek - Z Star
12) Ty Featuring Alison Evelyn - Inner Love
13) Victor Duplaix - Into My Life
14) Wunmi & Seiji - Lift Up Ya Foot
15) Zak Akhimien - Bossa De Lubire Neagra

Related people

»  Chris Ofili

Born, 1968 in Manchester, UK

Related exhibitions

Related venues

»  The British Pavilion, Venice

Venice, Italy

Steve McQueen: Giardini

Solo show at The British Pavilion, Venice. 2009
Date: 7 June, 2009 until 22 November, 2009
Curator: Richard Riley
Organiser: British Council

Artist Steve McQueen was selected to represent Britain in the British Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale, which took place 7 June – 22 November 2009. Several partners supported McQueen’s contribution, namely, Thomas Dane Gallery, London; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York and the Art Fund Outset Production Fund Partners.  McQueen’s contribution was characteristically original and took the form of a film, given the title of ‘Giardini’. The film took its name from the ‘Giardini Pubblici’, the gardens located in the Castello region in the eastern part of Venice. ‘Giardini Pubblici’ is the name of the gardens in which the main pavilions of the Venice Biennale have, since 1895, been located.

‘Giardini’ took the form of a split screen film that documented the area of ‘Giardini Pubblici’, out of season as it were, in ways not normally considered or comprehended by the legions visiting the Biennale every other year. In McQueen’s film, feral dogs wandered, and shadowy figures lurked or engaged with each other in the hidden, less visible environs of ‘Giardini Pubblici’. This film presented a decidedly different view of gardens and buildings that are, during the time of the Biennale, pristine, manicured, and sanitised of the dubious or uncertain elements that characterized McQueen’s film. ‘Giardini’ presented an underside of the venue in which the Biennale is located, and in so doing, obliged its viewers to consider wider matters of visibility, abandonment, and the consequences and implications of a space that has in effect been reclaimed by an imprecise cast of characters. In some respects, ‘Giardini’ presented a counter view of the Biennale, in which ‘Giardini Pubblici’ was not so much empty, but more reclaimed, with the art world’s attention having moved on – for eighteen months or so – to shinier, more spruce, more socially disinfected spaces and locations.

‘Giardini’ was an understated, profound work, which drew much in the way of critical acclaim. It was a triumphant contribution by an artist whose trajectory since the first ICA Futures Award in 1996 had been onwards and upwards, including winning the Turner Prize in 1999 and receiving an OBE in 2002. Steve McQueen was the second Black British-born artist to represent Britain at Venice. The first Black British-born artist to win the Turner Prize was Chris Ofili. He too had gone on to represent Britain, at the Venice Biennale, in 2003.

A publication, Steve McQueen: Giardini notebook commemorated Britain’s Venice Biennale contribution of 2009. It included a text by T. J. Demos, “Giardini: A Fairytale,” reprinted as  ”Giardini: A Fairytale” in Nka Journal of Contemporary Art, Number 27, 2010: 6-13.

Giardini (when shown at Marian Goodman Gallery, New York) was reviewed by Vanessa Rocco, in Nka Journal of African Art, Number 27, 2010: 118-119. 

From Rocco’s text: “… The images conjuring a haunted ruin create a tension with others in the film that are more firmly rooted in current sociocultural contexts: furtive sexual encounters between strangers at night in a piazza, seeming to have nowhere else to rendezvous; the dislocation and anxious expression of a face in close-up, perhaps that of an immigrant; the overhang throughout of what Demos and others refer to as “cultural tourism” rather than place tourism. This statelessness and homelessness pervade the new social order. The Biennale resists acknowledging this at the peril of its own relevance in the art-world hierarchy. By showing the off-hours and in-between spaces of the Giardini and thus exposing the seeming “natural order” of nationalism and hegemony as a decaying fiction, McQueen achieves a film as political as Western Deep— an intention asserted by the artist in an interview with Demos…”

Related items

click to show details of Steve McQueen: Giardini Notebook

»  Steve McQueen: Giardini Notebook

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 2009

People in this exhibition

»  Steve McQueen OBE, CBE

Born, 1969 in London, UK

Exhibition venues

»  The British Pavilion, Venice

Venice, Italy

Steve McQueen: Giardini Notebook

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 2009
Published by: British Council
Year published: 2009
ISBN: 978-086355-625-8
Unpaginated.

image of Steve McQueen: Giardini Notebook

Publication, ‘Steve McQueen: Giardini notebook’ which commemorated Britain’s Venice Biennale contribution of 2009. Artist Steve McQueen was selected to represent Britain in the British Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale, which took place 7 June – 22 November 2009. Several partners supported McQueen’s contribution, namely, Thomas Dane Gallery, London; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York and the Art Fund Outset Production Fund Partners.  McQueen’s contribution was characteristically original and took the form of a film, given the title of ‘Giardini’. The film took its name from the ‘Giardini Pubblici’, the gardens located in the Castello region in the eastern part of Venice. ‘Giardini Pubblici’ is the name of the gardens in which the main pavilions of the Venice Biennale have, since 1895, been located.

‘Giardini’ took the form of a split screen film that documented the area of ‘Giardini Pubblici’, out of season as it were, in ways not normally considered or comprehended by the legions visiting the Biennale every other year. In McQueen’s film, feral dogs wandered, and shadowy figures lurked or engaged with each other in the hidden, less visible environs of ‘Giardini Pubblici’. This film presented a decidedly different view of gardens and buildings that are, during the time of the Biennale, pristine, manicured, and sanitised of the dubious or uncertain elements that characterized McQueen’s film. ‘Giardini’ presented an underside of the venue in which the Biennale is located, and in so doing, obliged its viewers to consider wider matters of visibility, abandonment, and the consequences and implications of a space that has in effect been reclaimed by an imprecise cast of characters. In some respects, ‘Giardini’ presented a counter view of the Biennale, in which ‘Giardini Pubblici’ was not so much empty, but more reclaimed, with the art world’s attention having moved on – for eighteen months or so – to shinier, more spruce, more socially disinfected spaces and locations.

‘Giardini’ was an understated, profound work, which drew much in the way of critical acclaim. It was a triumphant contribution by an artist whose trajectory since the first ICA Futures Award in 1996 had been onwards and upwards, including winning the Turner Prize in 1999 and receiving an OBE in 2002. Steve McQueen was the second Black British-born artist to represent Britain at Venice. The first Black British-born artist to win the Turner Prize was Chris Ofili. He too had gone on to represent Britain, at the Venice Biennale, in 2003.

This catalogue included a text by T. J. Demos, “Giardini: A Fairytale,” reprinted as  ”Giardini: A Fairytale” in Nka Journal of Contemporary Art, Number 27, 2010: 6-13. The catalogue was as original as McQueen’s film itself. Most of the catalogue consists of photographs documenting the ‘Giardini Pubblici’ very much in its in-between-biennales state. Bags of rubbish, the detritus from redundant now broken signage, copious evidence of the pulling apart and the rebuilding that is part and parcel of the exhibition installation/deinstallation process - such were subjects of the copious photographs in ‘Steve McQueen: Giardini notebook’. Other photographs show graffitied buildings and evidence of attempts made by nature to reclaim, over time, everything from statuary to parts of the built environment within the gardens. The photographs were taken by Sean Bobbitt. Extracts from Demos’ text as follows:

“A visually sumptuous film of thirty minutes, Giardini comprises two side-by-side projections that steadily present a series of evocative vignettes. Rainwater splashes out a quickening rhythm on the hard surfaces of gray and black stones; the blurred shapes of dogs move about restlessly, as if searching for food amid heaps of refuse on an otherwise grand promenade; the dark silhouette of an orderly row of trees creates abstract patterns against a blue crepuscular sky; a young man, seemingly anxious, with darting eyes, smokes in the shadows. With alternating bluish black and warm reddish tones, powerfully and suggestively imagistic, this film radiates a magical aura, one teeming with possibility rather than defined by a single narrative or by the clarity and authority of documentary information.

Like McQueen’s past films, such as Caribs’ Leap/Western Deep (2002) and Gravesend (2007), Giardini denies clear links between representation and significance, between form and content—not to exclude reference but instead to allow the image’s potential meanings to crystallize, its facets reflecting numerous paths of fabulation. Indeed, the film’s suspension of its images in a field of multiple possibilities defines its power: to release life from belonging to any certain code, clear narrative, or restrictive regimen, and to do so in the quintessential location of national order: the Giardini of the Venice Biennale. As its title indicates, the film is set in the famous exhibition grounds, the location of the aging national pavilions—the American, Italian, Swiss, and Israeli are among those shown. These otherwise well-known monuments are portrayed here in an unexpected light, during the interim between biennales, in the down-time and during the nights, in the shadows of the spectacle. The renowned gardens are thereby recast as a site where everything is suddenly up for grabs and seems unfamiliar and unpredictable, where life is shown to assume forms of creative survival that transcend the fanfare of the great exhibition. Few visitors, if any, experience it as such. In this sense, the film is attached to Venice’s Giardini only for convenience, and, indeed, its grounds are transported elsewhere by McQueen.

Giardini continues the political commitment of McQueen’s cinema in two ways: first, by making the figure of the excluded—the stateless, and the racial and sexual outsider—visible on the rarefied set of the showpieces of national spectacle; and, second, by directing the power of film to resist conventional representational systems, by producing an experience of perceptual creativity that denies the certainty of identity and the clarity of signs on which hegemonic order rests. In this regard, Giardini’s evocative realm of perceptual contingency might be seen to risk a certain aestheticization, which attends the film’s hypersensitive visual immediacy, no doubt intensified by the saturation that results from its basis in 35mm stock and the expansiveness of its panoramic aspect. A radical impressionism ensues at times, exemplified by the camera’s prolonged dwelling on radiant flower petals and its close-up depictions of the colorful splendor of beetles and the earthy camouflage of a garden spider. Such privileging of stylistic concerns also appears in the film noir associations of the film’s frequent images shot in nocturnal environments, as stages for shady dealings and suspenseful visions, without obvious critique or clear subversive point.”

Related people

»  Steve McQueen OBE, CBE

Born, 1969 in London, UK

Related exhibitions

Related venues

»  The British Pavilion, Venice

Venice, Italy