|Wolfgang Tillmans, Calle Real 11, 2014|
I have always been a big fan of Wolfgang Tillmans' work. He has the uncanny ability to make something out of nothing with work that is direct, uninflected and an often beautiful celebration of the obvious and the everyday. There is never a hint of cleverness in the work just the authentic view of an artist who sees the world with balance and equanimity. Tillmans' pictures form a whole with one image owing allegiance to the next.
Currently showing until October 24, at David Zwirner, New York, Sean O'Hagan of The Guardian reports: What might be called the hereness and nowness of things has been Tillmans’s abiding subject since he first exhibited casually intimate portraits of his friends back in the early 1990s. But his work of late has become ever more wide-rangingly democratic. Throughout, he has retained a recognisable style – a kind of studied non-style, in fact – that is now a signature of sorts, and his recent shows, big and sprawling but cohesive (at least to him) seem like experiments in narrative and association. He sees the gallery, as well as the studio, as a “laboratory of ideas.”
As always with Tillmans, it is hard to know how to start making sense of this experimentation. The show’s title, PCR, is an acronym for “polymerase chain reaction” (a term from molecular biology that refers to the process by which DNA is amplified to reveal the overall genetic identity of a person). The inference here, I suppose, is that each image shows his singular style but they are all related, however tangentially, to form a bigger picture.
At PCR, portraits are hung alongside landscapes and huge abstractions (the traces of dust on processing paper) take their place beside equally vast studies of ordinary things, like a weed standing tall in his unkempt garden. Tillmans is drawn not so much to capturing the quotidian sublime, but to the ways photography can render the everyday luminous. The weed is a fine example: resplendent in its raggedy otherness, made more weed-like and more beautiful by his attentive eye.
|Wolfgang Tillmans, Weed, 2014|
You can read the full Guardian piece HERE.