Tate Modern
London, UK
Until  11 June 2017

Wolfgang Tillmans has earned recognition as one of the most exciting and innovative artists working today. This February, Tate Modern will present an exhibition concentrating on his production across different media since 2003. First rising to prominence in the 1990s for his photographs of everyday life and contemporary culture, Tillmans has gone on to work in an ever greater variety of media and has taken an increasingly innovative approach to staging exhibitions. Tate Modern will bring this variety to the fore, offering a new focus on his photographs, video, digital slide projections, publications, curatorial projects and recorded music.

The social and political form a rich vein throughout Tillmans’s work. The destabilization of the world has arisen as a recurring concern for the artist since 2003, an important year when he felt the world changed with the invasion of Iraq and anti-war demonstrations. Tabletop installations such as truth study center 2005 – ongoing will highlight Tillmans’s continued interest in world events and how they are communicated in the media. Through the assembly of printed matter from pamphlets to newspaper cuttings to his own works on paper, Tillmans stimulates a personal response to a range of global issues.

Wolfgang Tillmans will particularly highlight the artist’s deeper engagement with abstraction, beginning with the important work Sendeschluss / End of Broadcast I 2014. Based on images the artist took of an analogue TV losing signal, this work combines two opposing technologies – the digital and the analogue. Other works such as the series Blushes 2000 – ongoing, made without a camera by manipulating the effects of light directly on photographic paper, will show how the artist’s work with abstraction continues to push the boundaries and definitions of the photographic form.

The exhibition will include portraiture, landscape and still lives. A nightclub scene might record the joy of a safe social space for people to be themselves, while large-scale images of the sea such as La Palma 2014 or The State We’re In, A 2015 document places where borders intersect and margins are ever shifting. At the same time, intimate portraits like Collum 2011 focus on the delicacy, fragility and beauty of the human body. In 2009, Tillmans began using digital photography and was struck by the expanded opportunities the technology offered him. He began to travel more extensively, photographing people and places across the world. Works from the series Neue Welt 2009 – 2012 capture images of the commonplace and the extraordinary.

© Wolfgang Tillmans