Wolfgang Tillmans (1968 – )
Wolfgang Tillmans was born in Remscheid, Germany in 1968. He lived in Hamburg for a period of time before heading to the UK to study photography at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art in 1990. In 2000, Wolfgang Tillmans was awarded the Turner Prize. Tillmans continues to live and work in both London and Berlin.
Tillmans' photographs are distillations of a moment captured in almost classical formal compositions, which nonetheless succeed in appearing entirely natural. There is an extraordinary range of subject matter, from figures in a fashion shoot to an incidental still life, from a study of folds of fabric to the landscape between buildings, but each shot is an instance of delight in the unexpected, of beauty in the banal. Tillmans' imagery transforms everyday objects and scenes into something extraordinary, while the extraordinary is made appealingly ordinary.
In Concorde Grid (1997), Tillmans documents sightings of this iconic image on the runways of Heathrow airport and in the skies around the West London hinterland, including glimpses of suburban housing, railway sidings, car parks and motorways. When Tillmans shot the images in 1997, the Concorde was still a symbol of progress and glamour and was a lone survivor of a more Utopian age. He chose, however, to contrast this figure of status with the bleakness of the contemporary suburban landscape allowing Concorde to maintain an engaging dignity. Concorde took its last flight in 2003 which makes this work an even more poignant tribute to a marvel of aviation engineering.
Tillmans has exhibited extensively both in the UK and internationally. His most recent solo show was held at the Serpentine Gallery in 2010 and presented figurative and abstract work from the past ten years. Other major solo exhibitions include Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporanea, Mexico City, 2008; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C,; Palais do Tokyo, Paris, and Tate Britain, London.
Made in Britain Contemporary Art from the British Council Collection 1980-2010,China Federation of Literary and Art Circles Publishing Corporation 2010. ISBN 978-7-5059-7014-4.
Existing or coming into being at the same period; of today or of the present. The term that designates art being made today.
Landscape is one of the principle genres of Western art. In early paintings the landscape was a backdrop for the composition, but in the late 17th Century the appreciation of nature for its own sake began with the French and Dutch painters (from whom the term derived). Their treatment of the landscape differed: the French tried to evoke the classical landscape of ancient Greece and Rome in a highly stylised and artificial manner; the Dutch tried to paint the surrounding fields, woods and plains in a more realistic way. As a genre, landscape grew increasing popular, and by the 19th Century had moved away from a classical rendition to a more realistic view of the natural world. Two of the greatest British landscape artists of that time were John Constable and JMW Turner, whose works can be seen in the Tate collection (www.tate.org.uk). There can be no doubt that the evolution of landscape painting played a decisive role in the development of Modernism, culminating in the work of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists . Since then its demise has often been predicted and with the rise of abstraction, landscape painting was thought to have degenerated into an amateur pursuit. However, landscape persisted in some form into high abstraction, and has been a recurrent a theme in most of the significant tendencies of the 20th Century. Now manifest in many media, landscape no longer addresses solely the depiction of topography, but encompasses issues of social, environmental and political concern.