Wolfgang Tillmans // Neue Welt // Photobook

 

 

Among photographers today, Wolfgang Tillmans occupies a unique position. In the ’80s and ’90s, German photography came to be associated with a sensibility that was cool and measured—with highly conceptual and pictorially minded artists such as Andreas Gursky and Thomas Ruff. Simultaneously, an American style of diaristic photography emerged that was kinetic and emotional—from Nan Goldin all the way to Ryan McGinley.

Over the past 20 years, the Remscheidborn Tillmans has been more peripatetic in his pursuit of ways to constantly reengage his activity with the camera, as well as moving between London, Berlin, New York, and Frankfurt, among other places. His picturemaking addresses his own life, the world around him, his social and political concerns, and it also directly engages the history of the medium. In the mid’90s, he became wellknown for portraits and images of youth culture— whether capturing a radiant Kate Moss or ecstatic bodies on the dance floor—that seemed to effortlessly translate the spirit of the times. They were exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, reproduced in the pages of iDPurple, and The Face, and brought the artist an immediate international audience. It was as his editor at New York’s index magazine that he and I first worked together in the ’90s, and he shot memorable covers and assignments for the publication, including images of John Waters, Gilbert & George, and Udo Kier.

With the unparalleled explosion of photos in recent years, the now 43 yearold Tillmans turned increasingly to abstract pictures produced directly in the darkroom, most often without any camera whatsoever, and his work asked us: What else can a photograph be? If he insists on anything, it’s that there should be new ways of questioning what it is that we see. Nowhere is this more evident than in Abstract Pictures (Hatje Cantz), a new book that brings together more than two decades of his experiments and projects beyond traditional representation. Alternately rigorous, sensuous, beautiful, and beguiling, these pictures further animate a body of work that continues to unfold in unexpected and everchallenging ways.

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.”

 

Wolfgang Tillmans nació en Remscheid, Alemania, en 1968 y estudió en el Colegio de Arte y Diseño Bournemouth & Poole. Está ampliamente considerado como uno de los artistas más influyentes de su generación. Su obra, a la vez que capta la inmediatez del momento y del carácter del tema, también examina la dinámica de la representación fotográfica. Desdeñó desde el principio la división tradicional del arte exhibido en una galería de las imágenes e ideas transmitidas a través de otras formas de publicación, dando un peso equivalente a ambas vertientes. Sus grandes instalaciones del suelo al techo muestran imágenes de subculturas y movimientos políticos, así como retratos, paisajes, naturalezas muertas e imaginería abstracta cuyas dimensiones oscilan entre el tamaño de una postal al de un mural. Su obra ha sido exhibida en el Museo de Arte Moderno (MoMA), Nueva York, en 1996 y en la Tate Britain, Londres, en una importante retrospectiva en 2003. Le fue concedido el premio Turner en 2000.

A lo largo de más de dos décadas, Wolfgang Tillmans ha explorado el medio de la imagen fotográfica en todas sus facetas como ningún otro artista de su generación. Ya sea a través de instantáneas de sus amigos, imágenes abstractas obtenidas en una sala oscura sin cámara u obras realizadas con fotocopiadora, ha explorado el proceso fotográfico en un sinfín de formas, llevándolo hasta sus límites. Para la creación de las fotos de este volumen, el cuarto que publica con TASCHEN, Tillmans se ha alejado de la exploración autorreflexiva del medio fotográfico que durante tantos años le ha ocupado y ha dirigido su objetivo al mundo exterior, desde Londres y Nottingham hasta Tierra del Fuego, Tasmania, Arabia Saudí y Papúa-Nueva Guinea. Él describe esta nueva fase simplemente como «intentar ver qué es lo que la cámara puede hacer por mí y yo por ella». El resultado es una poderosa y personalísima visión de la vida actual en diversos lugares del mundo, contemplada desde distintos puntos de vista. Según Tillmans, «en sí mismos, mis viajes no tienen objetivo ni buscan resultados predeterminados, sino que aspiran a encontrar temas y motivos que de alguna manera hablen sobre la era en la que vivo».El libro incluye una fascinante conversación entre el artista y Beatrix Ruf, directora de la Kunsthalle Zürich.

Source: www.taschen.com

 

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