Acclaimed artist and director Steve McQueen represented Britain at the 53rd Venice Biennale. He presented a new film entitled Giardini inspired by the parkland area of Venice where the British Pavilion is situated. This was the first time that artist film had been shown on this scale at the Pavilion.
Giardini is a split screen film that documents the Venetian gardens out of season, as this area is only open to the public for half the year when the Biennale exhibition occurs. By using the medium of film McQueen allows the viewer to experience the empty gardens where stray dogs wander scavenging for food, strangers skulk in the shadows and lovers meet. With its poetic simplicity Giardini revels in the beauty of the unseen and unheard, whilst in turn exposing the spectacle of the Biennale and its fleeting nature.
"It is important for me to create a still moment in the biennale, particularly because this is a work with a beginning, a middle and an end… There is an everydayness about it, it’s not exotic or foreign, but specific to the Giardini and to Venice." Steve McQueen
This work was jointly presented to Tate and the British Council by the Art Fund and Outset Contemporary Art Fund in 2010 so it is now part of the British Council Collection.