In this sequence of films the performing body provides a central metaphor for human consciousness and emotions. 

Films showing in this section: 

Jayne Parker K’1989
Steve McQueen Five Easy Pieces 1995
Steve Dwoskin Dirty 1967
Nick Stewart Face Up 2000
Sam Taylor-Wood Brontosaurus 1995

Jayne Parker K 1989

1 minute. Collection: Lux 

Jayne Parker herself is the central performer in her film K. Her closely observed actions build through repetition and montage into metaphors for states of mind, or being. Alexandra Sage wrote: ‘K is about facing up to fears, exerting control and gaining strength. Its balanced structure and severe pacing reflect the artist’s ultimate imposition of internal order.’ 1995 


Jayne Parker studied at Canterbury College of Art and Slade School of Art, London. Her earliest films were minimally animated drawings, illustrating cryptic feminist narratives. She has made work for cinema, television and the gallery. She has taught at the Slade School of Art and Goldsmiths College. 

Steve McQueen Five Easy Pieces 1995

7 minutes. Collection: Thomas Dane 

In this early work Steve McQueen may be constructing a self-portrait not composed of mirror reflections, but of ‘images personal to me [and to] how I define myself and my experiences’. Shots of performing figures suggest erotic tension and release, but the linking sequence of a tight-rope walker is ‘the perfect image of a combination of vulnerability and strength’. Steve McQueen 1995 


Steve McQueen was born in 1969. He studied at Chelsea School of Art, Goldsmith’s College of Art, London, and the Tisch School of the Arts New York University. An artist with an extremely strong sense of - and passion for - cinema and the cinematic, McQueen now makes work exclusively for gallery installation, where his artistic decision-making often includes shaping the surrounding architectural space. He won the Turner Prize in 1999.

Steve Dwoskin Dirty 1967

10 minutes. Collection: Lux 

Steve Dwoskin filmed a scene, projected the images he had shot, then re-filmed them from the screen as a way of highlighting their sensuality. ‘Refilming enabled the actions of the two girls to be emphasised - to convey the tension and beauty of such a simple and emphatic gesture as a hand reaching out, freezing, then moving again’. Steve Dwoskin 1975 


Steve Dwoskin was born in 1939 in New York. He studied at Parsons School of Design NYU, and worked professionally as a designer in New York and London. A founder member of the London Filmmakers’ Co-op (he designed the first three Co-op distribution catalogues), he later he withdrew his work from it. He has lectured at the London College of Printing and the Royal College of Art. A prolific filmmaker, the majority of his works are feature length, many supported by German and French television. 

Nick Stewart Face Up 2000

9 minutes. Collection: Artist 

The people filmed by Nick Stewart for Face Up were clearly watching some spectacle in the night sky. His tight framing of their faces invites us to interpret their expressions. Is this awe, or perhaps fear? 


Nick Stewart was born in 1952. He studied at the University of Ulster and Belfast College of Art and Design, and taught at Sheffield Hallam University from 1990. He now lives and works in London. Recurring themes in Stewart’s tapes and installations have been the isolation of the spirit of place in architectural locations, and the ‘reading’ of fleeting human emotions from the position of a disengaged observer. 

Sam Taylor-Wood Brontosaurus 1995

10 minutes. Collection: White Cube 

Sam Taylor-Wood films a man dancing to techno-music alone in a room. His nakedness emphasises that this is a private form of a public activity. More radically, Taylor-Wood slows down the film-speed and adds Samuel Barber’s classical Adagio for Strings. This makes it, in her words ‘a eulogy to living, even if the person seems to be doing the dance of death, because it is so fragile, delicate and vulnerable’. 1996 


Sam Taylor-Wood was born in 1967. She studied at the University of East London and Goldsmith’s College London. Her photographic and video works were the subject of a one person show at the Hayward Gallery in 2002. She lives and works in London.