Wolfgang Tillmans has a long history with Kunsthalle Zurich. It was at the venue that he had his first institutional exhibition of work in 1995, and to which he now returns with his new series Neue Welt (New World) to christen the gallery’s new premises at the Löwenbräukunst.
All images courtesy of Kunsthalle Zurich © Stefan Altenburger Zurich
Continually exploring the production and environmental context of photography, Tillmans has worked across a variety of approaches and techniques, from studio photography to abstract, mechanical manipulation of photographic elements. “Neue Welt” sees the artist again delving into the world of external observation, culling images from his past several years of travel in India, Ethiopia, China, Saudi Arabia, Papua New Guinea, Australia and Chile.
Documenting his travels via digital camera, Tillmans’s images represent a search for the “new,” a disembodied vision of the world seen in a clarity beyond that of the human eye, but devoid of the understanding and context a human might be able to glean from the situation itself. Drawing the line between experience and artifact, Tillmans images explore concepts of superficiality, highlighting the frequent impulse to read truths from surface inputs.
Alongside these images, Tillmans features the global progression of technology, medicine and culture, examining the forms and constructions of a scientifically advanced society without the context of social interaction or tangible benefits.
An expansive exploration into a world constantly in flux, Tillmans work reaches for a holistic sense of modernity, but its most notable point may be how much more there is to see.
“Neue Welt” closes November 4th.