From the moment of his first exhibition in 1988, at the age of 20, Tillmans has been recognized as an artist of precocious talent. Conscripting such magazines such as i-D, Interview, and Index as his exhibition space, he published provocative pictures of youth culture's rituals, self-image, and style that looked nothing like high fashion. Their exciting transgressions and seemingly casual snapshot style seemed, however, totally appropriate to describing the texture of a nomadic counterculture whose very ethos is the elimination of all boundaries. Tillmans' first-hand attraction to objects was manifest from the beginning, but his still lifes rarely appeared in his early publications. Refusing to be narrowly cast as a pop culture "art star," in the mid-nineties Tillmans retrieved and printed his early still lifes in the mid-1990s and began to move deeper into this genre, seeking out the paintings of Zurbarán and Caravaggio. His continuing challenges to distinctions between low and high culture, and recently, between figuration and abstraction and the lush beauty of his pictorial results earned him Britain's prestigious Turner Prize in 2000-the first time the award had been given to a photographer.
the artist, via Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York
Fogg Museum, Harvard Art Museums. "Wolfgang Tillmans: Still Life," October 25, 2002–February 23, 2003.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Modern Photographs from the Collection VIII," December 16, 2003–July 20, 2004.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Depth of Field: Modern Photography at the Metropolitan," September 25, 2007–March 23, 2008.