Asked why the artist decided upon using the medium of film a as means of expression, Steve McQueen recently said, that he is attracted by the possibility of working with others, and by "...the fact that film moves - physically and emotionally. Film is much more dynamic than other art forms."

The notion of spatial and temporal change inherent in film as medium, as well as the act engaging the viewer in room-size projections - Steve McQueen utilises the wall's maximum height and width as projection screen - have been realised by the young artist (b. 1969 in London) in four works to date. "Bear" (1993), shown publicly for the first time in 1995, is the first part of a trilogy, which was continued by "Five Easy Pieces" (1995) and "Stage" (1996). "Just Above my Head" (1996) is the most recent work and in its reduction of cinematic action also the most radical.

The films, as different as they may seem at first sight in regard to narrative structure, speed, rhythm, angle of vision, etc., have two things in common: they are in black and white and without sound. This is not to be interpreted as an historicizing strategy, as a recourse to the early history of film. Steve McQueen has not excluded the use of colour for himself, but has rather understood his concentration on black and white as a means to work as directly as possible, without the distraction the use of colour is liable to cause. Steve McQueen's works are really silent - as opposed to old silent films that were always accompanied by music. The artist describes the extraordinary suggestive power of silence as follows: "The whole idea of a silent experience lies in the fact that people upon entering the room become aware of themselves and their own breathing. I find it difficult to breath in the room. There seems to be no oxygen. I want to put people in situations in which they become aware of themselves while viewing the work."

The solo exhibition by Steve McQueen at Potikus Frankfurt is his first in Germany and the second world-wide.

Photo: Katrin Schilling