Steve McQueen (b. 1969) is a pioneering British director. The artist is recognised for his boundary-pushing films and Oscar winning screenplays – addressing urgent themes of inclusivity, heritage and individuality. Tate Modern surveys the practitioner’s portfolio, spanning over 20 years of film, photography and sculpture. The exhibition places 14 major moving images in conjunction with one another – creating an arena for self-reflection and wider social scrutiny. As the UK digests the government’s immigration plans in the wake of Brexit, the show provides a timely pause for visitors to consider the importance of diversity within contemporary communities.
The show explores a range of black identities, inviting viewers to forge connections through multi-layered portrayals. McQueen’s early work Exodus (1992/1997) reflects on the social landscape of London in the late 1990s. The silent film depicts the crowded city – capturing the people, infrastructure and cars which dominate the environment. The work is tied together by a personal tale of a fatal accident which shock the artist’s family. Feeling of regret are met with a poignant message of self-forgiveness. Another featured video, Ashes (2002), follows the journey of a lone man who ponders the value of life. A vast wash of blue – created by the adjoining ocean and sky – forces viewers to focus solely on the figure. The exhibition demonstrates McQueen’s ability to layer personal narratives across visually rich scenes, exploring the importance of empathy and understanding in the modern world.
Until 11 May. Find out more here.
Image: Steve McQueen, Ashes, 2002. Courtesy of the artist.