His motifs fall into the traditional pictorial categories of portrait, landscape, still life and genre, but they are always fully tangible. His pictures are invariably preceded ... more >> Wolfgang Tillmans is one of the most internationally significant artists of his generation. His main medium is photography. He became famous in the 1990s for his photographs featuring European youth culture. Tillmans regards himself as a “Bildermacher” (“picture maker”) who devotes as much attention to his own windowsill as to the world behind it: “Seeing is in itself contemplation about the world.”
His motifs fall into the traditional pictorial categories of portrait, landscape, still life and genre, but they are always fully tangible. His pictures are invariably preceded by a concept, but also by coincidence and productive doubt, for according to Tillmans “photography is always an interpretation of the world”. Creating a photographic image not only requires decisions to be made regarding content, visual aesthetics and moral issues; there is also the question of the technical processes involved. How do light, colours, forms, volumes and surfaces react when they are photographed? What role is played by the camera, the mechanical, chemical and electronic processes, and by the paper as the image carrier, when a seen image is transformed into a printed photograph? Since the turn of the millennium, Tillmans has increasingly been exploring these aspects of photography and reproduction technology in order to produce abstract photographic images without a camera.