29 February 2016
Wolfgang Tillmans’s first exhibition in Portugal will be housed in the splendid setting of the Museo Serralves in Porto, a building designed by Álvaro Siza that was opened in 1999. Curated by Suzanne Cotter, director of the museum, in collaboration with Paula Fernandes, Wolfgang Tillmans: On The Verge of Visibility presents over 120 works by the German artist. Born at Remscheid in 1968, he is now internationally recognized as one of the most influential figures on the contemporary scene. Tillmans, who treats the setting of the exhibition as an active workshop, integrating it into the show, has oriented the choreography of the space around the series entitled Vertical Landscapes: images of a simple and disconcerting beauty, created since 1995, that portray the impact of light on the world, its encounter with earth, sky and clouds, drawing attention to the at once physical and immaterial nature of photography. As always, his works are presented without frames and hung from small nails, as well as printed in various sizes, from classic formats to panoramic blow-ups on a grand scale (up to four metres in width). They are not arranged according to the linear progression of the walls, but follow the sequence of the volumes and the fluxes of natural light in the rooms. Structured in chronological order, the exhibition opens with a set of pictures that retrace Tillmans’s work since the beginnings, when while still a teenager he used a black-and-white photocopier to combine figures cut out of newspapers. These are followed by a selection of his iconic images of the subcultures of London in the nineties (which have made him the most popular chronicler of Generation X) and the movements for peace and the rights of homosexuals. Finally there is a group of digital snapshots from the first two decades of the 21st century, part of the Neue Welt collection that gave the celebrated book published by Taschen in 2012 its title. Rigorously free from digital manipulation, the fruit of strictly chemical processes, the pictures chosen for the show deliberately eliminate the human presence. With On The Verge of Visibility Tillmans pays tribute to photography in its most organic, spontaneous and elusive form.
Wolfgang Tillmans: On The Verge of Visibility
Curated by Suzanne Cotter and Paula Fernandes
Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto
January 30 – April 25