Steve McQueen first visited the Tate when he was an eight-year-old boy. He said it was the moment he knew “that anything is possible”. Since then, his career in art and film has spanned 30 years.
It has included blockbuster movies such as 12 Years a Slave, artworks like Queen and Country, a Turner Prize, an Oscar, a CBE and most recently a knighthood.
In the 42 years since he visited the Tate, McQueen has become one of Britain’s most ambitious artists, telling stories through the lens of a camera in unique ways.
He has definitely shown anything is possible.
In his latest exhibition at the Tate Modern, which opened on February 13, McQueen displays his first collection since he won the Turner Prize in 1999.
Featuring 14 major works, spanning film, photography, and sculpture, this is an exceptional opportunity to travel with McQueen through the issues and stories that drive his art.
As you enter, light is intentionally removed to bring you into surroundings where McQueen is the director, controlling what you see and hear.
Alongside each artwork there is little information and entrances to the cinemas for each long film are timed to keep disturbance to a minimum.
You can tell this artist is organised, making sure his audience avoids distractions.
While this exhibition feels large, McQueen’s work is intimate. 7th Nov, tells McQueen’s tragic family story in which his cousin Marcus recounts the day he accidentally shot and fatally injured his own brother.
Using one still image of Marcus’s head, McQueen is able to tell this sad story on a new way.
Looking for new methods to tell a story is McQueen’s theme, and it appears again with his recent work in the two-channel video installation Ashes.
The film is a moving tribute to an attractive young fisherman McQueen met when filming in Grenada in 2002, who was killed by drug dealers a year later.
As you walk around the gallery, its noticeable how his works speak to one another, and none more than between Western Deep, and the only sculpture of the exhibition, Weight.
Western Deep is a video, which uses light, sound and water to show the labour conditions in South Africa’s TauTona mine, the world’s deepest gold mine.
Across the exhibition, Weight also explores our relationship with the luxury metal through gold-plated mosquito net, draped over a prison bed.
It’s clear McQueen is one of London’s greatest visionaries.
Like David Hockney, Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst, McQueen has formed his own artistic corner to become a dominant voice in British art.
This exhibition is one of his best pieces of work.