Brash Artist

Steve McQueen is Britain's Secret Weapon

Representing Britain at this year’s Biennale is Steve McQueen, the 39-year-old artist and filmmaker who seems non-plussed by the invitation. “It’s great to be asked,” said McQueen. “But I’m not going to polish my shoes and wear a tie. I’ll just do what I normally do.” McQueen calls the Biennale a place “where art and nationality come together” and the pressure to perform is tremendous: two years ago the press lambasted artist Tracey Emin’s work. Still, McQueen, who won the Turner prize in 1999 for his Buster Keaton-inspired film Deadpan and whose first feature, Hunger, won the Camera d’Or at Cannes last year, comes across with such brash confidence it’s unlikely any criticism will phase him.