Room 7: Passengers

Wolfgang Tilmans Circle Line, 2000
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Wolfgang Tilmans Circle Line, 2000
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Wolfgang Tilmans Circle Line, 2000
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Wolfgang Tilmans Circle Line, 2000
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Public transport has always been a favourite place for photographers to catch subjects unaware. Nowhere else in the city do people brush up so close to one another and yet so studiously ignore each other. ‘I have always associated the underground with incredible intimacy among people, without them wanting to be intimate with each other’, Wolfgang Tillmans explains. His sensual series of close-ups on the tube was first shown in an issue of The Big Issue that he was invited to guest edit.

However, it was Walker Evans who first using a concealed camera to photograph passengers on the New York subway between 1938–41. His portraits show people lost in private thoughts while aware of being in a very public place.

In the 1970s, Cindy Sherman took a different approach. Remembering characters she has seen on buses, she impersonated each in a series of studio self-portraits. She made no attempt to present this as a documentary project – staging is made evident in every picture by the presence of the shutter release lead.

Street & Studio Other works in Room 7

Street and Studio; past exhibition at Tate Modern, room guide

See also

Watch

BP Artist Talk: Wolfgang Tillmans

Since the mid 1980s, Wolfgang Tillmans has reinterpreted representational genres from portraiture to still life to landscape through the medium ...

Tate Britain Exhibition

Wolfgang Tillmans: if one thing matters, everything matters

6 Jun – 4 Sep 2003
Wolfgang Tillmans: if one thing matters, everything matters past exhibition at Tate Britain
FREE
Press Release

Wolfgang Tillmans Wins the Turner Prize 2000

28 Nov 2000
Wolfgang Tillmans Wins the Turner Prize 2000: Press related to past competition.
Read

Studio: Cindy Sherman

Exclusively for Tate, artist Cindy Sherman has photographed her own studio. Betsy Berne – painter, novelist and fellow pugilist – goes 15 ...

Cruel + Tender Walker Evans American, 1903-75

Cruel and Tender at Tate Modern 5 June – 7 September 2003 Walker Evans