Wolfgang Tillmans

Paper drop, Prinzessinnenstrasse, a


Not on display

Wolfgang Tillmans born 1968
Photograph, inkjet print on paper, mounted on aluminium
Support: 1350 × 2020 mm
Purchased with assistance from Tate Patrons 2019


paper drop Prinzessinnenstrasse, a 2014 is a large-scale inkjet print mounted on aluminium. It is part of the artist’s ongoing paper drop series, started in 2001, a group of works which consider the relationship between the photographic image and photographic material. Paper is both the material base for the photograph and the subject matter of the photograph. The series consists of a sequence of images of photographic paper folded back on itself in a teardrop shape, sometimes hanging freely or curling off the wall; here it rests on a table-top in front of a window, the light from which throws the shadow of the paper onto the table in the foreground. The two-dimensional sheet of paper becomes a three-dimensional form, to be then returned to two dimensions in the final inkjet print. paper drop Prinzessinnenstrasse, a featured in Tillmans’s exhibition 2017 at Tate Modern, London in 2017. The work’s title refers to a street in central Berlin.

Tillmans’s diverse body of work is distinguished by a keen observation of his surroundings and an ongoing investigation into, and experimentation with, the foundations of photography and its processes. Playing with the methodologies of exhibition-making, he often pins or tapes his work to gallery walls, builds museological vitrines, or creates wall-based cases for selected works. He also simultaneously challenges the parameters of photographic practice by manipulating technological and chemical processes to distort and abstract his images, as well as reassessing established photographic genres or conventions such as still life, portraiture and landscape. Since 2003 Tillmans has deepened his exploration of photographic abstraction whilst expanding photography into the practices of painting, sculpture and – most recently – performance and activism. It is an important part of his approach that different kinds of images – abstract, representational, various print types and scales – exist equally and democratically within the logic of his picture and exhibition-making. In a statement for a wall text at his solo exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, London in 2010, he commented: ‘I try to approximate the way I see the world, not in a linear order but as a multitude of parallel experiences. Multiple singularities, simultaneously accessible as they share the same space or room.’

Further reading
Wolfgang Tillmans: Lighter, Berlin 2008.
Wolfgang Tillmans: Abstract Pictures, Berlin 2011.
2017, exhibition catalogue, Tate Modern, London 2017.

Kate Bush
April 2018

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