Wolfgang Tillmans: Abstract Pictures

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9783775727433: Wolfgang Tillmans: Abstract Pictures
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From the start, Wolfgang Tillmans' abstract photographs played a decisive role in his gentle subversion of photographic hierarchies and his seductive emphasis on the materiality of photographic objects in his presentation of them. In the past decade he has pursued this tack, making wholly non-representational photographs that explore processes of exposure. From the delicate veils of color in the Blushes and Freischwimmer series, and the sculptural paper drops made of folded or rolled-up photographic paper, to the colorfully compelling works of the Lighter series, the printed object itself, divorced from its reproductive function, is always the point. "For me, the abstract picture is already objective because it's a concrete object and represents itself," Tillmans says; "the paper on which the picture is printed is for me an object, there is no separating the picture from that which carries it. That's why I like to show photographs sometimes framed and sometimes not, just taped to the wall." Designed by the photographer, and with 275 color reproductions of these works, Abstract Pictures impressively demonstrates how fruitfully Tillmans has mined this terrain.
Wolfgang Tillmans (born 1968) began his career in photography documenting Hamburg's rave scene in the late 1980s. His earliest images were printed on digital copiers, and in the mid-1990s, living in London and then New York, Tillmans began to foreground the lo-fi properties of his printed images by exhibiting them pinned or taped to gallery walls. In 2005, at an exhibition at Maureen Paley gallery titled Truth Study Center, he further extended this approach by exhibiting photographs alongside newspaper cuttings, pamphlets and other kinds of printed matter, on custom-made wooden vitrines. This installation also brought to the fore more political themes in Tillmans' photography. In 2011 he traveled to Haiti to document reconstruction efforts following the previous year's earthquakes.

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Tillman's strikingly minmal images, created using various alternative techniques for exposure, are experiments in color, form, material and space that take the viewer well beyond the traditional utility of the still photograph. (Jack Crager American Photo 2011-11-01)

Abstract picture is a new book that brings together more than two decades of experiments and projects beyond traditional representation. (Bob Nickas Interview Magazine 2011-09-01)

With the unparalleled explosion of photos in recent years, the now 43-year-old Tillmans turned increasingly to abstract pictures produced directly in the darkroom, most often without any camera whatsoever, and his work asked us: What else can a photograph be? If he insists on anything, it's that there should be new ways of questioning what it is that we see. Nowhere is this more evident than in Abstract Pictures (Hatje Cantz), a new book that brings together more than two decades of his experiments and projects beyond traditional representation. Alternately rigorous, sensuous, beautiful, and beguiling, these pictures further animate a body of work that continues to unfold in unexpected and ever-challenging ways. (Bob Nickas Interview Magazine 2011-08-23)

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