Steve McQueen ★★★★ Tate Modern | Until May 11, 2020


Steve McQueen is probably best known for 12 Years a Slave (2013) and his other feature films. In this exhibition fourteen works expose McQueen, the artist, exploring his experimental use of the camera and powerful social messaging. Most of the pieces are from the period after 1999 when he won the Turner prize. There are works which take us out of ourselves like Once Upon A Time (2002) presenting the images that NASA has sent into space as representing earth's civilisation or Static (2009) which invites us to contemplate American reality after the 9/11 attacks. There are also intimate works like Cold Breath (1999) which explores the sense of touch and Charlotte (2004) which contemplates our vision and how it adjusts to environmental stimuli. These are pieces that situate us uneasily in the macrocosm or focus us uncomfortably on the microcosm. Both ends of this spectrum seek to challenge us with the perspective they are bringing to the human condition. Between these two poles are McQueen's meditations on political and social realities. 7th Nov. (2001) presents a distressing narrative made all the more compelling by the way it is matter-of-factly recounted while we contemplate a single image. Ashes (2002-15) reflects on the short life and brutal death of a young man as his grave is stoically constructed. The striking contrast between the horror of events and their quiet acceptance is what makes these works so emotive and gripping. As in End Credits (2012-ongoing) McQueen brilliantly uses a banality of presentation to shock and reawaken us to the real impact of what we are experiencing. There is all the power of his films in this intriguing, not-to-be-missed exhibition.

Reviewed by J.C.
Image: Ashes video still by Steve McQueen, 2002–15.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆ 

WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until May 11, 2020
Sun - Thu: 10 am - 4:30 pm
Fri & Sat: 10 am - 8:30 pm
Tate Modern
Nearest tube: Waterloo
https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/steve-mcqueen

Most Popular

Five Characters in Search of a Good Night’s Sleep ★★★★ Southwark Playhouse | Apr 27 - May 21, 2022

Future Shock ★★★★ 180 The Strand | Apr 28 - Aug 28, 2022

Space Station Earth ★★★★ Royal Albert Hall | May 15, 2022

Richard O'Brien's Rocky Horror Show ★★★★★ Richmond Theatre | May 23 - 28, 2022

Busman's Honeymoon ★★★ The Mill at Sonning | Apr 28 - Jun 25, 2022

Bad Nights and Odd Days ★★★★ Greenwich Theatre | June 23 - July 10, 2021

What the Ladybird Heard ★★★★★ Palace Theatre | Jul 15 - Aug 29, 2021

Shackleton's Carpenter, The Jermyn Street Theatre - ★★★★★ - Until August 17, 2019

The Human Connection ★★★★ Omnibus Theatre | June 22 - July 4, 2021

Disney's The Lion King ★★★★ Lyceum Theatre | Extended Run

The City Life Magazine | Reviews & Ratings