​wolfgang tillmans announces takeover of tate’s tanks

As part of his retrospective exhibition at Tate Modern, the photographer-musician-activist will turn the gallery’s South Tank in a space of sound and vision.

by Wolfgang Tillmans, i-D Staff, and Felix Petty
23 February 2017, 5:10pm

What's your favourite Pet Shop Boys song? Personally, I have a soft spot for "What Have I Done To Deserve This?" — the group's 1987 Dusty Springfield-featuring oddball pop almost hit. "West End Girls" would be another good shout. But Wolfgang Tillmans, it seems, favors "It's A Sin." And well, that's a pretty good shout too. The lead single off the group's 1987 album Actually, the song details Neil Tennant's education at a Catholic boys' school in Newcastle, and is undoubtedly one of the biggest and boldest pop songs to rise to the top of the charts.

READ: i-Con Wolfgang Tillmans

As part of Wolfgang's almost-retrospective at the Tate Modern — which takes in the last 14 years of his work — he's organizing a series of events in the gallery's South Tank. And one of the highlights is a four-hour long deconstruction of the Pet Shop Boys banger. The event will break the song down to all of its individual 30 tracks, and build it back up to a glorious whole.

That is of course, not all. Between Friday, March 3 and Saturday, March 11, Wolfgang will transform the gallery's South Tank into a magical celebration of sound and vision, light, and music — and it is all totally, 100% free. The series of events reflects the photographer's renewed focus on music as a form of expression. Over the last 18 months, he's returned to music — releasing two electronic EPs under his own name. The records feature the music he was making as a teenager in Germany alongside new compositions. He also released a mini-album as frontman of a band called Fragile.

READ: The musical reinvention of Wolfgang Tillmans

The opening night of his South Tank project will feature Fragile. Wolfgang will take to the stage with musical collaborators Tim Knapp, Jay Pluck, and Juan Pablo Echeverri. The series of events also highlights the importance of collaboration to Wolfgang's practice, and celebrates the many creative contemporaries and co-conspirators the artist has made over the years.

READ: Wolfgang Tillmans interviews and photographs Arca

Outside of the scheduled performances, viewers are free to come and go and experience the constantly mutating installation that brings together music, field recordings, light, and video works.

The installation is free to visit during gallery opening hours, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm daily, and until 10:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Evening performances at 8 pm are free. Visitors are encouraged to arrive early to ensure entry.

Live Events

Fri Mar 3, 8:00: FRAGILE

Sun Mar 5, 1:30- 5:30: The 30 tracks that make "It's a Sin" by Pet Shop Boys

Wed Mar 8, 8:00: Lori E. Allen and Thomas Brinkmann

Fri Mar 10, 8:00: Othon featuring Wolfgang Tillmans

Sat Mar 11, 8:00: Throwing Shade and Wreck & Reference


Text Felix Petty

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