McQueen’s short film Running Thunder was added to the city’s permanent collection through the Contemporary Art Society ‘Great Works’ scheme, which enables regional galleries in the UK to acquire works by British artists who have established international reputations over the last 20 years.
Running Thunder offers a moment for meditation. It presents a silent, static shot of a black horse lying in a sunlit meadow. Only the blades of grass, swaying softly in the breeze, and circling flies break the apparent tranquillity.
Motionless and unstirring, the animal challenges associations with horseracing suggested by the work’s title. The image of galloping horses which was famously documented by nineteenth century photographer Eadweard Muybridge, in a series often credited with anticipating developments in moving pictures, is at once evoked and denied by the creature’s stillness.
With this film, McQueen plays with the viewer’s expectations. It achieves a dramatic and emotional climax through the most subtle of means, inviting audiences to question the conventions, and workings, of film as a medium.
The City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for City Economy, Councillor Stephen Simkins, said: "This is a remarkable film to add to the city’s collection and is an important one for future generations to see.
“Steve McQueen is world renowned, and I am so pleased that he and his gallery Thomas Dane have been able to work with Wolverhampton.”
The exhibition opens tomorrow (Thursday 2 June) and is on display until Sunday 17 July. Running Thunder was presented to Wolverhampton Art Gallery by the Contemporary Art Society and the artist through the Great Works scheme, supported by the Sfumato Foundation 2018/19, with additional support from Thomas Dane Gallery.
Running Thunder is a free exhibition and can be seen Monday to Saturday 10.30am until 4.30pm and Sundays from 11am until 4pm. For more information on this and other exhibitions and events at the gallery visit Wolverhampton Art Gallery.