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.