Steve McQueen's South African View
It is rare that a foreign artist take as his subject a highly resonant South African subject. Turner Prize-winning artist Steve McQueen did just this, his video piece Western Deep peering down a deep hole and then journeying to the heart of its darkness.
Western Deep, recently exhibited in an abandoned, subterranean 1960s cinema near Trafalgar Square, was shot in the deepest goldmine in the world, near Johannesburg. According to The Guardian's Adrian Searle, "Western Deep, like so many of McQueen's previous works, is concerned with the surfaces and textures and weight of things, not just what light and shadow reveal, but what light and shadow are in film, and what mysterious things happen when that light fails, or what happens when film � in this case hand-held Super 8 � tries to record what is at the limit of its physical, photochemical capacity to record."
Western Deep is a highly impressionistic video piece, one that critics have likened to early Russian cinema. Aside from Searle, Artforum's Rachel Withers also gave the show a favourable review.
The Guardian: www.guardian.co.uk/arts/features/story/0,11710,806555,00.html
The Observer: www.observer.co.uk/Print/0,3858,4515898,00.html