26 June – 19 September 2010
The Serpentine Gallery presents Wolfgang Tillmans’ first major exhibition in London since 2003. Conceived by the artist for the Serpentine Gallery, the exhibition will present both abstract and figurative work.
Over the past 20 years, Tillmans has redefined photography and the way it is shown. Known by the early 90s for the seemingly casual images of the world he inhabited, his work reassessed photographic conventions and reflected the identity politics of the time, capturing the fragility of human life and focusing on everyday objects. This early work then expanded to engage with portraiture, landscape, the still-life and, more recently, abstraction. Tillmans’ abstract work, greatly celebrated in the last decade, continues to push the boundaries and definitions of the photographic form, and will be a particular focus of this exhibition.
The wide-ranging themes in Tillmans’ photographs are combined in his reconfiguration of accumulated images, created in response to a given space. In this new exhibition, the explorations into abstraction sit alongside a new focus on the figurative – a focus that is increasingly informed by recent colour field works and experiments with process. Referring to his approach to installation making Tillmans said: ‘In the constellations of pictures, I try to approximate the way I see the world, not in a linear order but as a multitude of parallel experiences… Multiple singularities, simultaneously accessible as they share the same space or room.’
The Serpentine Gallery exhibition reflects the artist’s acute sensitivity to the politics of contemporary society, his ongoing fascination with colour, and his conceptual engagement with the technical processes of photography. These delicate yet challenging images capture the distinctive energetic balance between beauty and subversion that Tillmans has long embraced.