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Wolfgang Tillmans (Contemporary Artists Series) [Paperback]

Peter Halley , Caroline Stephen , Wolfgang Tillmans

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Book Description

15 Nov 2002 Contemporary Artists Series
Wolfgang Tillmans' (b.1968) first book, published in 1995 when the artist was just 24 years old, sold 40,000 copies and is a cult manual of young style and photography. Tillmans is a rare example of a photographer who has expanded his audience into the art world. This is the first book to draw together all the different episodes from Tillmans' high-profile, exciting career.

Tillmans became known in the early 1990s for his photographs of young people in their social environments: clubs, Gay Pride parades, house parties. His style is enigmatic, sexy and highly innovative, inventing new icons of beauty and style for millions of young readers internationally. Images such as Lutz and Alex Sitting in the Trees (1992) - a couple perched in a tree, naked save for their incongruous raincoats - are emblems of his generation. His subjects are self-stylized and do not conform to standard notions of attractiveness and chic, yet their personalities and youth make them irresistibly seductive. Tillmans' style is often imitated, yet he remains the master of the photographic style he created.

Alongside portraits, Tillmans has expanded his subject matter to include architecture, landscape and still life, and has produced installations reminscent of the collage techniques of the 1960s Conceptual artists. From lifestyle magazine spreads Tillmans has moved to room-sized installations: for example, his series of distant views of Concorde flying overhead (Concorde, 1997) as well as a series of found photographs of soldiers from newspapers (Soldiers - The Nineties, 1999). In such installations of unframed photos stuck to the wall with tape, he references his own non-art origins and his continuing goal of breaking down the old-fashioned divisions between art, fashion and photography.

In his Survey critic Jan Verwoert examines Tillmans' key pursuit across his career: to find contemoprary art icons by 'testing' photographic images. Artist and theorist Peter Halley discusses with the artist his rapidly changed role, from Wunderkinder superstar of the mid 1990s to internationally respected and emulated, Turner prize-winning master of the 'new photography'. Critic and curator Midori Matsui analyses a single project, Concorde (1997), an installation and artists' book which records the daily passing of this epoch-making aeroplane. The artist has selected an extract from a nineteenth-century Quaker text by Caroline Stephen on divine inspiration, which reflects the artist's own interest in simplicity and truth. The Artist's Writings include excerpts from a key interview with Neville Wakefield (1995) and spreads from his artist's books.

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Review

'The new monograph from Phaidon makes it clear that there is a lot more to Tillmans than his Turner (Prize) show revealed.' (Observer magazine)

'excellent' (What's On in London)

'As part of Phaidon's new Contemporary Artists series, the book Wolfgang Tillmans aims to dig deeper than the familiar format of career summary and pretty pictures, aiming instead to provide a fuller understanding of his work.' (i-D)

'The boldest, best executed, and most far-reaching publishing project devoted to contemporary art. These books will revolutionize the way contemporary art is presented and written about.' (Artforum)

'The combination of intelligent analysis, personal insight, useful facts and plentiful pictures is a superb format invaluable for specialists but also interesting for casual readers, it makes these books a must for the library of anyone who cares about contemporary art. (Time Out)

'A unique series of informative monographs on individual artists.' (The Sunday Times)

About the Author

Jan Verwoert is an art critic considered to be one of Europe's most exciting new voices in contemporary art. In 2001 Verwoert was awarded the Art Criticism Prize by the Association of German Kunstvereine. He is a regular contributor to such magazines as Parkett, Camera Austria and Frieze.

Peter Halley is a New York-based artist and theorist. Exhibiting since the 1980s, Halley has presented surveys of his work at the Museum Haus Esters in Krefeld, Germany (1989), The Museum of Modern Art in New York (1997), and many other museums and galleries worldwide. He has lectured extensively and his publications include Collected Essays 1981-87 (1988) and Recent Essays 1990-1996 (1997).

Midori Matsuri is an independent art critic, formerly Associate Professor of Modernism and Post Modernism in the Department of American Studies, Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan (1991-2001). She is the Japanese correspondent for contemporary art at Flash Art.

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