The Turner Prize


Steve McQueen’s Deadpan, from

I visited Tate Britain today and saw the Turner Prize retrospective exhibition. There are exhibits there which relate to silent film. Best known probably is Steve McQueen’s Deadpan (1997), where the artist recreates Buster Keaton’s legendary stunt from Steamboat Bill Jr, with a similar wooden frontage of a house seen falling around McQueen from assorted angles. But you can also see Gillian Wearing’s 60 Minutes’ Silence (1996), a hilarious work in which a group of twenty-six police officers pose for a photograph in rows but have to stay still for sixty minutes. The more you look, the more they wobble, and the more hypnotic it becomes. And equally hypnotic is Douglas Gordon’s video installation Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1995), which shows blown-up sequences from the 1931 Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, with Fredric March, one positive and one negative side-by-side, eerily run slowly (and silently) as though digging inside the agony.

All this and the usual cows split in half, elephant dung and light bulbs switching on and off. Well worth seeing.

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