Press Release

Wolfgang Tillmans

This February, Tate Modern will present an exhibition of Wolfgang Tillmans’ work concentrating on his production across different media since 2003.
Inkjet print photograph of a fly sitting on half opened seafood including lobster and crabs

Wolfgang Tillmans
Astro Crusto, A, 2012 
© Wolfgang Tillmans

15 February – 11 June 2017 (Press view: 14 February 2017)
Sponsored by Hyundai Card
Tate Modern, Level 3, Boiler House & Tanks Studio
Open daily 10.00 – 18.00 and until 22.00 on Friday and Saturday
For public information call +44(0)20 7887 8888, visit or follow @Tate #Tillmans

Wolfgang Tillmans has earned recognition as one of the most exciting and innovative artists working today. This February, Tate Modern will present an exhibition concentrating on his production across different media since 2003. First rising to prominence in the 1990s for his photographs of everyday life and contemporary culture, Tillmans has gone on to work in an ever greater variety of media and has taken an increasingly innovative approach to staging exhibitions. Tate Modern will bring this variety to the fore, offering a new focus on his photographs, video, digital slide projections, publications, curatorial projects and recorded music.

The social and political form a rich vein throughout Tillmans’s work. The destabilization of the world has arisen as a recurring concern for the artist since 2003, an important year when he felt the world changed with the invasion of Iraq and anti-war demonstrations. Tabletop installations such as truth study center 2005 – ongoing will highlight Tillmans’s continued interest in world events and how they are communicated in the media. Through the assembly of printed matter from pamphlets to newspaper cuttings to his own works on paper, Tillmans stimulates a personal response to a range of global issues.

Wolfgang Tillmans – 2017 will particularly highlight the artist’s deeper engagement with abstraction, beginning with the important work Sendeschluss / End of Broadcast I 2014. Based on images the artist took of an analogue TV losing signal, this work combines two opposing technologies – the digital and the analogue. Other works such as the series Blushes 2000 – ongoing, made without a camera by manipulating the effects of light directly on photographic paper, will show how the artist’s work with abstraction continues to push the boundaries and definitions of the photographic form.   

The exhibition will include portraiture, landscape and still lives. A nightclub scene might record the joy of a safe social space for people to be themselves, while large-scale images of the sea such as La Palma 2014 or The State We’re In, A 2015 document places where borders intersect and margins are ever shifting. At the same time, intimate portraits like Collum 2011 focus on the delicacy, fragility and beauty of the human body. In 2009, Tillmans began using digital photography and was struck by the expanded opportunities the technology offered him. He began to travel more extensively, photographing people and places across the world. Works from the series Neue Welt 2009 – 2012 capture images of the commonplace and the extraordinary.

 The importance of Tillmans’s interdisciplinary practice will be showcased throughout the exhibition. His Playback Room project, first shown at his Berlin exhibition space Between Bridges, provides a space within the museum for visitors to experience popular music at the best possible quality. The video installation Instrument 2015 shows Tillmans dancing to a soundtrack made by manipulating the sound of his own footsteps, while in the Tanks Studio his slide projection Book for Architects 2014 will be screened. Featuring thirty-seven countries and five continents, it reveals the tension between architectural form and function. In March, Tillmans will also take over Tate Modern’s South Tank for ten days with a specially-commissioned installation featuring live music events.

Born in 1968 in Remscheid, Germany, Wolfgang Tillmans studied at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design. In 2000, Tillmans was the first photographer and first non-British artist to receive the Turner Prize. Exhibitions of his work have been shown around the world and his work is held in major international museum collections including the Art Institute of Chicago; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The National Museum of Art, Osaka; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and Tate, London. Tillmans lives and works in Berlin and London.

Wolfgang Tillmans – 2017 is co-curated by Chris Dercon and Helen Sainsbury, Head of Programme Realisation, Tate Modern with Emma Lewis, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue from Tate Publishing designed by Wolfgang Tillmans and a programme of talks and events in the gallery.

For press information contact or or call +44(0)20 7887 8731/4940. For high-resolution images visit


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Through a philosophy of inspiration through design, music, and the arts, Hyundai Card seeks to provide cardholders with unparalleled access to premium products and cultural services….. This culture-focused branding strategy, launched in 2001, helped the company achieve a sevenfold jump in market share over just five years. 

Wolfgang Tillmans is the second exhibition in a three-year commitment by Hyundai Card to Tate Modern’s expanding exploration of photography. We hope that visitors will be engaged and their curiosities kindled by the dynamic and boundary-pushing work of this important artist.

For more information, please visit