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Wolfgang Tillmans

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Wolfgang Tillmans, Young Man, Jeddah, A, 2012, Nite Queen, 2013 and Young Man, Jeddah, B, 2012

The German artist Wolfgang Tillmans is the recipient of the 2015 Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. On December 1, 2015 an exhibition of Tillmans’ work opened at the Hasselblad Center, Sweden. On the same day, the Hasselblad Foundation hosted a symposium with the award winner, and a new book by Tillmans was released.

Wolfgang Tilmans was born in Remscheid, Germany in 1968, and is a worldrenowned artist who has redefined the popular understanding of photography as a gallery-based medium. He studied at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design in Bournemouth, Great Britain from 1990 to 1992 and mostly lived and worked in London for much of the 1990s until the mid 2000s. He was officially recognized in the year 2000, when he won the prestigious Turner Prize in London, and it is a testament to the groundbreaking nature of his work that to this date he remains the only artist working primarily with photography to have been awarded this accolade. His work is in the collections of museums all over the world, including key institutions in The United States, The United Kingdom, France and Germany. He has exhibited widely and constantly since the late 1990s and has recently had large-scale exhibitions at Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Kunsthalle Zurich, K21, Dusseldorf, Museo de Arte de Lima, Peru, and Museo de Artes Visuales, Santiago, Chile. In 2014 installations by Wolfgang Tillmans were shown as part of the 8th Berlin Biennale, Manifesta 10 and in collection displays at the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen and the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. Recently Wolfgang Tillmans was also acclaimed for his highly original contribution to the Venice Architectural Biennale; a stunning two-channel video installation of his own photographic investigation of urban landscape in the age of globalization, which is presently displayed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Tillmans currently lives and works in Berlin and London.

Tillmans’ work is characterized by an extremely diverse and restless attitude to his subjects. His work ranges in focus and approach from street photography and urban portraiture (including important considerations of subcultures, queer politics and the AIDS crisis) to travel, landscape, still life, pictures of the sky and pure abstraction. Moreover, as well as producing iconic images, Tillmans is doubly significant in the breadth of his interests and approaches for the way in which he successfully demolishes the borders between apparently contradictory practices. In recent years, he has produced substantial and significant bodies of purely abstract photographic work, experimenting both with chemical and technical means, while maintaining a curiosity for the continued potential of more documentary images. For his most recent body of work Neue Welt (New World) Tillmans traveled throughout the world exploring it in a deviation from his beaten path.

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