Wolfgang Tillmans exhibition showcased at Fondation Beyeler, Switzerland
On show until October 1, photography pieces from artist Wolfgang Tillmans will be on show at Switzerland’s Fondation Beyeler
This is the first comprehensive engagement with the medium of photography at Basel, Switzerland’s Fondation Beyeler, which added a group of works by Wolfgang Tillmans to its collection. The summer exhibition is devoted to the artist Wolfgang Tillmans, spanning some 200 photographic works dating from 1989 to 2017. In addition to traditional genres such as portrait, still life, and landscape, the exhibition presents abstract works. The exhibition will be on show from May 28 to October 1, together with a new audiovisual installation. The showcase highlights how Tillman‘s work is concerned with the creation of images in general, rather than with photography specifically. For example Tillmans created his images without a camera at times, simply using a photocopier.
Born in the industrial German town of Remscheid, Tillmans moved to Hamburg in 1987 at the age of 19. The allure of British youth culture brought him to the UK, and he went to Bournemouth to study art in 1990. In 2000, he was the first photographer—and first non-British artist—to receive the Turner Prize. Tillmans is currently based between Berlin and London.
Tillmans first made a name for himself in the early 1990s with a casual, observational style; his photographs captured a generational portrait through pop culture, the music scene, and alternative fashion. (As The Telegraph put it: “In the early Nineties, in a certain corner of the world that was very much alive—a joyous, liberated, pan-European, techno-soundtracked place where people were actually curious about each other—Tillmans was the eye of his era.”) Tillmans himself explained in an interview with the Guardian: “I wanted to somehow represent what was not being represented elsewhere. Even though my early photographs are re-enactments, they are showing people at rest and at ease with themselves. They are not doing silly poses or wrapped up in fashion. In that way, they are images of a kind of freedom that was not being expressed honestly elsewhere.” Moreover, Tillmans engaged directly with sexuality, though as he also told The Guardian: “I never wanted to be a so-called gay artist, for instance, even though homosexuality is there in my work, but as an everyday thing.”
The exhibition is ricocheting off the artist’s exhibition at the Tate (it runs until June 11), which included photographs, in addition to video, digital slide projections, publications, curatorial projects and recorded music. The Tate summed him up this way: “German-born, international in outlook and exhibited around the world.”
At auction, prices for his large prints have been rising steeply. During a Sotheby’s auction, images which cost $50,000 less than two years ago doubled estimates to sell for $120,000. The Telegraph reported Tuesday that an eight-foot wide abstract image from his Freischwimmer series—made cameralessly in the dark room—sold for $660,000.