Steve McQueen’s Giardini, a ravishing half-hour dual projection, comprises vignettes recorded around the national pavilions that are the principal organizing spaces of the Venice Biennale. Fluctuating among images of serene nature and images of trash, piles of building materials, and loose dogs on the prowl, Giardini examines vacated public spaces in between the festivities, after the visitors, critics, and journalists have departed. These images conjure a haunted ruin, creating a tension with other images in the film that are more firmly rooted in current sociocultural contexts. In a shorter film in the exhibition, Static, McQueen makes us rethink our preconceptions about the Statue of Liberty from various viewpoints. It is a multisensory subversion that shows how McQueen returns the “physical to . . . the image.”

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