Artwork details

Freischwimmer 118
Inkjet print
300 x 400 cm
Wolfgang Tillmans

Through his pictures that capture the essence of moment, Wolfgang Tillmans came to the artworld’s attention in the early 1990s. What is typical for his art is that he observes his own environment and explores photography as a medium. His motives circle around portraits, landscapes and still lifes, but more recently he began exploring abstraction, as a means of doing further tests on the boundaries and definitions of photography.

The works by Tillmans in this exhibition show his studies in abstraction – for instance the works Mental Picture # 63, and Urgency X – in addition to his focus on figuration, as in Untitled (Jam) and Chrysanthemum.

In works such as Freischwimmer 118, we see how the artist further explores the abstract possibilities with the camera. The photo-series Freischwimmer is made in a darkroom without a camera; the photographic paper simply records the light Tillmans directs at it and by using his hands as moving stencils (so-called mark-making). The results of this process are painterly abstract pictures, where the images feel much closer to painting than photography. Moreover, the images suggest hair-like strands moving across the paper, internal organs, smoke or underwater life forms.

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© Astrup Fearnley Museet