23 May 2017

Steve McQueen: Ashes

Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston

Reviewed by Christopher Snow Hopkins

In 2002, Steve McQueen met a charismatic fisherman named Ashes in Grenada. When the British artist returned to the island eight years later, Ashes was dead, gunned down by a drug kingpin after the fisherman discovered a cache of narcotics on the beach.

Ashes's tale is the subject of a two-sided video installation at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston. On one side, the protagonist sits on a fishing boat as it rocks up and down on azurite waves. Like a marine sprite, Ashes prances on the prow of the vessel, impervious to salty sea spray. On the other side, two concrete-slingers build a whitewashed sepulcher for the dead protagonist while a narrator recounts Ashes's bloody end.

This is a meditation on the destruction of the body and the construction of memory. "Ashes" is a comment on mortality - "ashes to ashes, dust to dust" - and the vagaries of time. Here, youth and annihilation, life and death, are presented at the same moment.

Exhibition Steve McQueen: Ashes link
Start date 15 Feb 2017
End date 25 Feb 2018
Presenter Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston link
Venue 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston, MA, USA map
Image Steve McQueen, Ashes, 2002–15, istallation view, the 56th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia, All the World's Futures, Venice, 2015, courtesy of the artist, Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris, and Thomas Dane Gallery, London, © 2016 Steve McQueen, photo by Francesca Buccaro
Links

Reviews of current exhibitions near this one

Reviews by Christopher Snow Hopkins

Permalink

Share Facebook, Twitter, Google+