Tate Modern
13 February – 11 May 2020

Supported by the Steve McQueen Exhibition Supporters Circle, Tate International Council and Tate Patrons


Steve McQueen Static 2009, Tate © Steve McQueen. Courtesy the artist, Thomas Dane Gallery and Marian Goodman Gallery

Steve McQueen Static 2009, Tate © Steve McQueen. Courtesy the artist, Thomas Dane Gallery and Marian Goodman Gallery

Celebrated for his powerful and uncompromising vision, Steve McQueen creates work that addresses the urgent issues of representation, identity and history. Next spring, Tate Modern will present the first survey of his work in the UK for over 20 years, offering a timely moment to reflect on these themes. Featuring 14 major works spanning film, photography and sculpture, the exhibition will be an unprecedented opportunity to experience the depth of McQueen’s visual art career in this country for the first time since he received the Turner Prize in 1999.

Over the last 25 years McQueen (b.1969, London) has created some of the most innovative works of moving image designed for gallery spaces, as well as four critically acclaimed films for cinematic release: Hunger (2008), Shame (2010), 12 Years a Slave (2013) and Widows (2018). Spanning two decades of his career, the exhibition will reveal how McQueen’s pioneering approaches to filmmaking have expanded the ways in which artists work with the medium, creating poignant portraits of time and place.

Visitors to Tate Modern will be able to view personal and intimate works such as McQueen’s earliest film shot on a Super 8 camera, Exodus 1992/97, which reflects on migration and multiculturalism in his home city of London, and 7th Nov. 2001, in which the artist’s cousin Marcus recounts the tragic day he accidentally shot and fatally injured his own brother. These will be joined by immersive, large-scale video installations such as Western Deep 2002 and Static 2009. Originally commissioned for the landmark exhibition documenta XI, Western Deep presents an intense, sensory exploration of the labour conditions of gold miners in South Africa, while Static’s aerial depiction of the Statue of Liberty visually scrutinises a familiar and heavily symbolic figure that can rarely be inspected up close.

More recent work will include the haunting two-channel video installation Ashes 2002–15, offering a moving tribute to the memory of a young fisherman the artist met and filmed in Grenada in 2002, who was killed by drug dealers the following year. For the first time in the UK, audiences will be able to view End Credits 2012ongoing, McQueen’s homage to the African-American singer, actor and civil rights activist Paul Robeson (1898–1976) who, after a successful career as a performer, was blacklisted in the 1950s and put under surveillance by the FBI. The work consists of rolling slides of the FBI’s reports on Robeson with a soundtrack of voices reading from the heavily-redacted documents. The exhibition will also feature Weight 2016, a sculpture first exhibited by Artangel at the recently closed Reading Gaol, where Oscar Wilde had been imprisoned and wrote De Profundis (1897). Presenting a gold-plated mosquito net draped over one of the prison’s metal bed-frames to create a shimmering apparition, Weight explores the relation between protection and confinement, the physical and the spiritual, and the redemptive power of the imagination.

This major exhibition coincides with McQueen’s latest artwork Year 3, on show at Tate Britain until 3 May 2020, an epic portrait of London’s Year 3 pupils created through a partnership between Tate, Artangel and A New Direction. Steve McQueen at Tate Modern is curated by Clara Kim, The Daskalopoulos Senior Curator, with Fiontán Moran, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern and is organised in collaboration with Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue featuring an in-depth interview with the artist and essays providing new insights into his work.

About Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen was born in London in 1969 and currently lives and works in Amsterdam and London. His work is held in public collections around the world and solo exhibitions have been shown internationally including a major retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Schaulager, Basel in 201213. McQueen represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 2009 and was awarded the Turner Prize in 1999. He received an OBE in 2002 and a CBE in 2011.

McQueen has directed four feature films: Hunger (2008), Shame (2011), 12 Years a Slave (2014), and Widows (2018). He won the Caméra d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival for Hunger and the Oscar for the Best Motion Picture for 12 Years a Slave in 2014.

List of works

Exodus 1992/97
Film, super 8mm, colour, transferred to video
1min, 5sec

Cold Breath 1999
Film, 16mm, black and white, projection
10 min

Illuminer 2001
Video, colour, transferred to digital file, projection, sound
15min, 13sec

Girls, Tricky 2001
Video, colour, transferred to digital file, projection, sound
14min, 47sec

7th Nov. 2001
Single 35mm slide, colour, projection, sound

Once Upon a Time 2002
Sequence of 116 35mm slides, colour, transferred to digital file, back projection, sound

Caribs' Leap 2002
Film, 35mm, colour, transferred to video, LCD screen,
12min, 6sec
Film, super 8mm, colour, transferred to video, projection, sound
28min 53sec

Western Deep 2002
Film, Super 8mm, colour, transferred to video, projection, sound
24min, 12sec

Charlotte 2004
Film, 16mm, colour, projection
5min, 42sec

Mees, After Evening Dip, New Year's Day, 2002 2005
Light box with colour transparency

Static 2009
Film, 35 mm, transferred to video, high definition, colour, projection, sound
7min, 3sec

Ashes 2002–15
Film, Super8 and 16mm, colour, transferred to high definition, 2 projections, sound; poster, print on paper
20min, 31sec

End Credits 2012–ongoing
Video, digitally scanned files, high definition, black and white, projection, sound, Image running time: 5 hours, 38 min; Audio running time: 42hours, 6min, 20sec

Weight 2016
24 carat gold, mosquito net, metal, paint
270 x 245 x 98 cm

For press information contact Rachael.Young@tate.org.uk or kitty.malton@tate.org.uk or call +44(0)20 7887 8732/8730.