Not everyone knows this; but before Steve McQueen turned his hand to making unflinching films like “Shame” and Oscar-winning giants like “12 Years a Slave”, he was a Turner prize-winning artist.
McQueen returns to his creative roots in the powerful video installation - “End Credits”, 2012 – Ongoing” - in which he uses redacted FBI files to reveal the extent of surveillance of the black singer and activist Paul Robeson.
Robeson’s life and art career were destroyed when he started to crusade against lynching, and became a blacklisted target of the FBI. When his FBI files became partly declassified, McQueen embarked on a long pilgrimage to assemble an epic monument to this tragic hero. The result is thousands and thousands of ever-scrolling pages; intended as a purgatory for our collective consciousness towards martyred individuals like Robeson.
Co-produced by Onassis Culture, the work is presented as part of the 7th Athens Biennale; courtesy of the artist and the Marian Goodman Gallery, New York and Paris, and the Thomas Dane Gallery, London.
Onassis gives us a flavour of what to expect:
“Like a fountain or a river, “End Credits”, 2012 – Ongoing”, flows endlessly in dozens of hours of a visual and spoken-word sermon mesmerizing in their dark matter and profound, compacted pain.”