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Wolfgang Tillmans Mental Picture #30

cm 60 x 51
Wolfgang Tillmans moved to Bournemouth (UK) in 1990, where he studied at the College of Art and Design. Before taking up photography he began exploring the world of images by using a photocopier to manipulate materials cut out from magazines and daily newspapers. Only after working extensively for various publications did he specialize in photography, taking an interest in the portrait genre and the glossy style of fashion, both seen as means of investigating the theme of identity. His photos from the 1980s document youth subcultures, while in the following decade, together with a change in techniques and themes, Tillmans began to favor abstract photography, often produced in a dark room with no camera but just by using light. "Mental Picture #30" belongs to this genre. The work refers, like the other photos executed with the same technique and with the same title, to the word mental, here meaning “mad.” The idea of madness is understood as something “lacking measure,” unbalanced or unpleasant, and refers to the combination of colors and to the underwater effect of these pictures. In keeping with Tillmans’ abstract leanings, in this photograph, produced without a camera and working directly on the print, no subject or object is evoked, but neither is their absence: what interests the artist is projecting models of perception. These involve light and color forms significant in their own right, emotively transformable according to what the viewer chooses to see or not to see, and which accentuate the pictorial potential of photography and its “original” nature as a pattern of light.
On View
Z. Felix, G. Verzotti (eds.), Veduta dall’alto. Wolfang Tillmans, exhibition catalogue (Rivoli, Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea), Milan 2002. W. Tillmans, Manual, Cologne 2007; Wolfgang Tillmans. Abstract Pictures, Stuttgart 2011.
Photo Credits
Foto M3Studio
Legal status
Donation by Claudia Gian Ferrari
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