Written by Darrel Ronald

Wolfgang Tillmans at the Stedelijk CS

Wolfgang Tillmans at the Stedelijk CS by Darrel Ronald


© Wolfgang Tillmans

The latest exhibition in the temporary location for the Stedelijk Museum CS will be a show curated by Wolfgang Tillmans (b. 1968) which includes his own work situated amongst other artists. The show is entitled, Presence of Mind, and will run through June 20th – September 30th, 2008. While previous works will be included, the show will also include the museum’s recent acquisition, an installation by Tillmans titled, Stedelijk Room.


Portrait of Tillmans; © AFP/Getty Images

In the forthcoming exhibition at the Stedelijk, Tillmans reveals the connections between his own work and that of a number of kindred spirits in the art world. Some, like German artist Isa Genzken, with whom Tillmans has exhibited on a number of occasions, share his free and easy approach to images and materials. Others, like René Daniëls and Daan van Golden, are artists who constantly redeploy their own stock of images in new ways. Tillmans also creates a dialogue between his own experiments with the abstract qualities of the photographic image and the work of Ellsworth Kelly, Morris Louis, Robert Mangold and Niele Toroni. The socially committed, political aspect of his oeuvre is reflected in his selection of Roberto Matta, Peter Hujar and Timur Novikov.

The new installation, Stedelijk Room, will be a collection of his work combining:

[…] abstract images with portraits, landscapes, still lifes and townscapes. Tillmans even includes odd references to Amsterdam/The Netherlands, such as his self-portrait Mosshat (1988), made during a period in Amsterdam in his twenties, and a photograph of a painting of William of Orange. There is also an image that refers to one of the first abstract compositions he ever made, on the occasion of the 1998 From the Corner of the Eye exhibition at the Stedelijk. Iconic works from Tillmans’ oeuvre included in Stedelijk Room are Lutz & Alex, climbing tree (1992), police helicopter (1995), man pissing on chair (1997) and the black-and-white image of an intertwined group of friends Arkadia I (1996). In contrast to these earlier photographs, there are also recent, large-scale abstracts like Freischwimmer 118 (2005) and Silver 50 (2006). Finally, Stedelijk Room includes three tables covered with montages of photographs and cuttings from newspapers and magazines which are in permanent dialogue with the images displayed on the walls.

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