wolfgang tillmans announces tate modern exhibition

The photographer, artist, and longtime i-D contributor is staging a retrospective exhibition of recent work at the London gallery, whilst dedicating his Berlin project space to the refugee crisis.

by Felix Petty
19 April 2016, 12:57pm

Since he published his first photographs in i-D back in 1989 -- a selection of images of nightclubbers in Hamburg -- Wolfgang Tillmans has beautifully blurred the boundaries between art and documentary photography. Using saturated snapshots and a lo-fi aesthetic, he's documented moments in his and his friends' lives, as well as turned his eye towards everything from abstraction to landscapes to still-lifes to photojournalism to portraiture.

The Tate has just announced that a new exhibition of his work will be opening at the Tate Modern in February 2017, and will feature his photography, video, publication, curatorial projects and work in music. Taking the year 2003 as the exhibition's starting point (the last time he exhibited at the Tate) the exhibition will focus on Wolfgang's last 14 years of work, and his specific engagement with political issues, from climate change and gay rights to, most recently, the refugee crisis.

Wolfgang Tillmans, Astro Crusto Courtesy of the artist © Wolfgang Tillmans

In a statement released last week, Wolfgang announced that his Berlin project space, Between Bridges, was going to be dedicated to the refugee crisis indefinitely. The artist explained that he had been asking himself what he could do to help and wanted to confront particular issues regarding the crisis, particularly the rise of right wing parties in Europe, and the fracturing of the EU, which he described as "the most successful peace project in the history of mankind." To this effect, he announced Meeting Place, a forum to discuss and organize activity from within the art community. "Meeting Place is an attempt to open a space for dialogue," he writes, to "show that of course we can try to work this out, if only we start to get to know each other."

The first exhibition as part of the project will be of Bachar Al Chahin's images of Syria, taken before and during the Civil War and the rise of IS. Additionally, the space will host regular get-togethers, every Thursday, in order to create dialogue.


Text Felix Petty
Portrait Karl Kolbitz

refugee crisis
wolfgang tillmans
Tate Modern
Between Bridges
felix petty