Synopses & Reviews
Life as Wolfgang sees it: Tillmans's latest project sets its sights on the world Over the period of more than two decades, Wolfgang Tillmans has explored the medium of photo-imaging with greater range than any other artist of his generation. From snapshots of his friends to abstract images made in a darkroom without a camera or works made with a photocopier, he has pushed the photographic process to its outer limits in myriad ways. For this collection of photos, his fourth book with TASCHEN, Tillmans turned away from the self-reflexive exploration of the photography medium that had occupied him for several years by focusing his lens on the outside world—from London and Nottingham to Tierra del Fuego, Tasmania, Saudi Arabia, and Papua New Guinea. He describes this new phase simply as “trying out what the camera can do for me, what I can do for it.” The result is a powerful and singular view of life today in diverse parts of the world, seen from many angles. Says Tillmans, “My travels are aimless as such, not looking for predetermined results, but hoping to find subject matter that in some way or other speaks about the time I’m in.”
The book features a conversation between the artist and Beatrix Ruf, director of Kunsthalle Zurich. Text in English, French, and German
"A few years ago, German photographer Tillmans came across a sentence that resonated with him deeply: 'Life is astronomical.' His captivating new project of digital photographs, taken around the world between 2009 and 2012, reflects this statement in diverse and provocative ways. Locations were both familiar to the artist (London, Berlin, New York) and new (Shanghai, China; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia), with his images equally wide-ranging and full of contrast. A photograph of a young boy bolting down a Mumbai street faces the placid image of the star-filled night sky over Munuwata Island, Papua New Guinea; a large vibrant and textured closeup of the interior of crustacean claws faces a set of small photographs of Jeddah shopping malls. Tillmans's still lifes, portraits, landscapes, and cityscapes probe dichotomies of interior and exterior, nature and the human-made, detail and expanse. He explores juxtaposition through layering photographs of different sizes and genres to form collage-like narratives. The collection is prefaced by a thoughtful and revealing interview with Tillmans by Beatrix Ruf, director/curator of the Kunsthalle Zurich, printed in English, French, and German. Here, Tillmans explains that he is devoted to 'the question of what constitutes life on earth today, how one assesses and captures it, and perhaps, too, how a sense of the whole could be revealed'; his images engage with this question most poignantly and provocatively." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Wolfgang Tillmans was born in Remscheid, Germany in 1968 and studied at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential artists of his generation. His work, whilst appearing to capture the immediacy of the moment and character of the subject, also examines the dynamics of photographic representation. From the outset he ignored the traditional separation of art exhibited in a gallery from images and ideas conveyed through other forms of publication, giving equal weight to both. His expansive floor to ceiling installations feature images of subcultures and political movements, as well as portraits, landscapes, still-lives and abstract imagery varying in scale from postcard- to wall-sized prints. His work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1996 and Tate Britain, London, in a major retrospective in 2003. He was awarded the Turner Prize in 2000.