SCOTLAND’S show at the Venice Biennale is staged in the utilitarian workshop of a boatyard in the Arsenale Docks area of the city.

A fragmented, disparate film, both candid and oblique, by the Turner Prize-winning artist Charlotte Prodger, will be revealed to the public this weekend in a pitch-black room.

Weaving together footage from Africa, Scotland and elsewhere – with film footage, scenes captured by a rising and falling drone, and film shot on a smart phone –Prodger’s narrative moves from chapter to chapter, the sometimes impersonal and almost abstract imagery contrasting with her personal reflections on life and death and sex and growing up in Scotland, told in voiceover.

The maned lioness of the Okavango Delta, categorised as SaF05, and after who the film is named, is glimpsed only at the start in what looks like infra-red imagary, alternately roaring and sitting alertly in the dark.

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The images of deserts and stones, termite mounds and ponds, wintry Scottish mountains, Utah, Glasgow at night time, Ionian islands, are accompanied not only by the calm, intimate voiceover of Prodger – who grew up in Aberdeenshire and studied at Glasgow School of Art – but ear-mangling squalling jazz, driving bagpipe drones and scientific descriptions of the observed behaviour of the enigmatic lioness. This lioness, who has a short mane and who behaves in ways often ascribed only to male lions, is the guiding idea of the film, which continues the theme of “queer wilderness” of Prodger’s previous films. In the same way as the lion is given letters and numbers for a name, so do the other people mentioned in Prodger’s stories.

The voiceover describes episodes of youthful experiences of evangelical religion in Aberdeenshire, the depths of Loch Long, some frank sexual episodes, and scenes of loss and death. There is also a rumination on the nuclear payloads hidden at Faslane, and the lives of the submarine crews who work from there.

There is no clear narrative and by the end, the viewer may wish for there to be a neater conclusion.

But this is an art work, not a conventional film, so one is instead left with the impression of an elegant procession of crystal-clear imagery, and ruminative, rich stories of life.

The lioness is fascinating. I wanted to know more.

The film has been curated by Linsey Young and the Cove Park residency in Argyll and Bute, and is to tour Scotland.

The UK premiere will screen at The Tower Digital Arts Centre in Helensburgh, on June 27.

The film will then tour six cinemas and art centres across Scotland’s west coast, Highlands and islands, ending in Aberdeen at Belmont Filmhouse on Thursday, November 21.

In the UK Pavilion, in the main Giardini area of the city – where many “national pavilions” stand permanently – the work of the Belfast-born, Glasgow- based artist Cathy Wilkes is on show.

Represented by the Modern Institute in Glasgow, it is the first time a Scottish-based artist has been in the pavilion at the same time as the separate Scotland+Venice shows: Scotland+Venice has been a separate entity since 2003.

Like some of her previous work, Wilkes’s exhibition in the six rooms of the show is spare, and subtle. There are mannequins of small children, apparently with swollen stomachs, a large bed or tomb in the main room, and elsewhere plates and tables, a hand with a scrubber in a tub, and some pale, washed-out images in frames. There are sculptures, some of glass and material, and plates and other implements.

The British Pavilion is grand architecture, a series of large rooms in a neo-classical building at the centre of this massive art show. Wilkes’s work seems to act against it. Her art is subtle and not obvious: her works feel like ghosts or spirits of works – like her recent work at the Tramway in Glasgow, there is a hard-to-explain feeling of loss and absence. But it is not straightforward.