Wolfgang Tillmans

1968 · Germany

Artist biography

Wolfgang Tillmans is a renowned contemporary German photographer. His practice is broad, covering subjects spanning from still-life and abstraction to political advertisements and LGBTQ culture, and a range of media from photography, video, music and installation.

Born on August 16, 1968 in Remscheid, West Germany, Tillmans studied at the Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design and spent the following few years of his career in London. His career took off in the 1990s when his snapshot images of youth, club and LGBTQ culture gathered attention and acclaim. In 2000, he was awarded the prestigious Turner Prize, which was the first time the prize had been awarded to a non-British artist. Tillmans currently resides and works in London, United Kingdom. He has been an outspoken advocate for the United Kingdom to remain a member of the EU, and created a series of promotional images campaigning for this in 2016.

Tillmans intends for his images to function in terms of the viewer and their experience, whilst he accepts that they also reflect himself as an artist. His images, though extremely varied in subject matter, tend to focus on the idea of singular perspectives and snapshots of moments in time, often feeling familiar and yet at the same time slightly strange. In his exhibitions, Tillmans often presents his photographs unframed and placed in unconventional places on the wall, which invites the viewer to appreciate their sense of self in relation to the artwork and presents a feeling of spontaneity. Tillmans has also pursued a career in music, releasing a number of EPs of experimental techno music sung in both German and English.

In 2017, the Tate Modern gallery in London held a large scale retrospective of Tillmans’ work to date, titled “Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017”, which opened to critical acclaim. His works are presently held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, and the Kunstmuseum Basel, among others.

Wolfgang Tillmans

  • Artworks in Collections 22
  • Exhibitions 14
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