Wolfgang Tillmans is an influential contemporary German photographer - few artists have shaped the scope of contemporary art and influenced a younger generation quite so much. Emerging in the 1990s with his snapshot documentations of youths, clubs, and LGBTQ culture, Tillman’s practice has expanded to include diaristic photography, large-scale abstraction, and commissioned magazine work.
His works epitomise a new kind of subjectivity in photography, pairing intimacy and playfulness with social critique and the persistent questioning of existing values and hierarchies. Through his seamless integration of genres, subjects, techniques, and exhibition strategies, he has expanded conventional ways of approaching the medium and his practice continues to address the fundamental question of what it means to create pictures in an increasingly image-saturated world.
“I want the pictures to be working in both directions,” the artist has said. “I accept that they speak about me, and yet at the same time, I want and expect them to function in terms of the viewer and their experience.”
In 2017 Tillman's had his first ever exhibition at the Tate Modern, showing a range of work, from intimate still-lifes and portraits to innovative, immersive installations.
Born in Germany, Tillmans spent the early part of his career in London and in 2000, he was awarded the prestigious Turner Prize, marking the first time the prize had been awarded to a photographer or non-British artist.
He has also been awarded the Hasselblad Award, the Royal Photographic Society's Centenary Medal, the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition's Charles Wollaston Award, The Culture Prize of the German Society for Photography, and is an Academician of the Royal Academy of Arts London.