Wolfgang Tillmans: “From Neue Welt” at Andrea Rosen Gallery, through June 22nd 2013

June 12th, 2013

Wolfgang Tillmans, young man, Jeddah, b, (2012), via Andrea Rosen
Wolfgang Tillmans, young man, Jeddah, b, (2012), via Andrea Rosen

Continuing their ongoing relationship, Andrea Rosen Gallery is currently exhibiting its 11th solo exhibition of work by German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans, on view through June 22nd.  From Neue Welt is the result of a four-year project that Tillmans began in 2008, and completed in 2012, a vigorous photographic cataloguing of the dawn of the 21st century. 25 works have been selected from the hundreds of photographs that were a part of the original work, which culminated at the Kunsthalle Zurich in the fall of 2012.

Wolfgang Tillmans, from Neue Welt (Installation View), courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery
Wolfgang Tillmans, from Neue Welt (Installation View), courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery

Born in Remscheid, Germany in 1968, the 2000 Turner Prize-winner Wolfgang Tillmans lives and works between Berlin and London. His work hs been exhibited internationally and is part of major museum collections around the world, such as the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, among many others.  72 photographs from his Neue Welt project have been printed in a limited Art Edition publication, titled Neue Welt, and published by Taschen.

Wolfgang Tillmans, from Neue Welt (Installation View), courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery
Wolfgang Tillmans, from Neue Welt (Installation View), courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery

Tillmans’ early works from the mid 1990’s captured his friends in the club culture of London, and began his commitment to photographing his own personal view of a broad range of global political events. Often present in Tillmans’ photographs is a contrast between the intimate, individual details that make his characters unique and the broad spectrum of common interactions.

Wolfgang Tillmans, Fruit Logistica (Egypt), (2012), via Andrea Rosen
Wolfgang Tillmans, Fruit Logistica (Egypt), (2012), via Andrea Rosen

The works in Neue Welt reflect this ongoing practice, turning the camera’s eye onto the increasingly schizophrenic effects of globalization across continents, from the US and Europe to Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, and South America. The aim of the series was to capture a broad view, with details from all over the globe, that represent “the times we live in” through a variety of images and signifiers.  From a detail of a car headlight, to a waterfall, to an image of the back of someone’s throat (all of which remain ungrounded by definite location), this seemingly broad topic has brought out unexpected and poignant photographs that show us how diverse, yet similar, the globe has become.

Wolfgang Tillmans, from Neue Welt (Installation View), courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery
Wolfgang Tillmans, from Neue Welt (Installation View), courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery

This exhibition is particularly unique because the sizes of the prints, the quality of the paper, the framing devices, and the printing technology set Tillmans’ work apart from past renditions of the series. For the past 20 years, Tillmans has remained relatively consistent in his photo sizes and ways of printing, but this work at Andrea Rosen embraces new sizes of work, as well as new inkjet paper and inks, changing the quality of the color and intensity in his photographs. Most of the images in the exhibition are framed, which is unusual for Tillmans, often known for simply pinning photographs to exhibition walls. Tillmans’ newfound experimentation with inkjet printing has resulted in works which what Karen Roseberg of the New York Times writes “assert themselves more strongly as art objects…They are lush and almost painterly in their rich concentrations of pigment.” In fact, in a recent conversation with Artforum’s Michelle Kuo, Tillmans went as far as to argue that the new inkjet printing technology opens up possibilities that equalizes painting and photography as image-making mediums.

Wolfgang Tillmans, from Neue Welt (Installation View), courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery
Wolfgang Tillmans, from Neue Welt (Installation View), courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery

Capturing the diversely interlocking images of the contemporary global condition, Tillmans’ Neue Welt was a landmark exhibition of photographic documentation, refusing to prioritize either human or digital concerns in favor of a complex look at the world stage.  His work is on view until June 22nd.

Wolfgang Tillmans, from Neue Welt (Installation View), courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery
Wolfgang Tillmans, from Neue Welt (Installation View), courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery

from Neue Welt will continue at Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York through June 22nd.

Wolfgang Tillmans, from Neue Welt (Installation View), courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery
Wolfgang Tillmans, from Neue Welt (Installation View), courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery

Wolfgang Tillmans, from Neue Welt (Installation View), courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery
Wolfgang Tillmans, from Neue Welt (Installation View), courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery

—E. Baker

Related Links:
Exhibition Page [Andrea Rosen Gallery]
Neue Welt [Kunsthalle Zurich]
Artist Website [Wolfgang Tillmans]