Sunday, August 09, 2009


Lighter. Photographs by Wolfgang Tillmans. Text by Julie Ault, Daniel Birnbaum, Joachim Jaeger. Hatje Cantz, 2008. 400 pp., 210 color illustrations., 10x11¾".

"Since winning the Turner Prize in 2000 for his 1990s oeuvre of portraits and snapshots, German-born photographer Wolfgang Tillmans has increasingly gravitated towards the abstract and material-specific properties of his medium.

Following Blushes, the Freischwimmer series and the monochromatic Silver series, his most recent abstract works - of which the creased and folded Lighter series is perhaps the most significant - treat the photograph, and especially photographic paper itself, no longer as a reproductive medium, but as a material object.

In Tillmans’ 'paper drop' photographs, the paper’s physical folds and curves are photographed to produce geometric, tactile compositions. Other works oscillate more elusively between photograph and object, always thriving in the interplay.

'For me, the abstract picture is already objective because it’s a concrete object and represents itself,' Tillmans observes; '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.'

These most recent works are gathered for the first time in this book. Lighter also includes an extensive section of installation views - taken by Tillmans himself - that offers the reader a direct experience of the artist’s visual cosmos as presented in recent exhibitions, including his last retrospective, which was seen at various major venues in the United States."

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