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Wolfgang Tillmans: Neue Welt

. 1 min read

I just bought a copy of Neue Welt, the latest book by Wolfgang Tillmans. It's a follow-up to Truth Study Center from 2005. The odd thing is that, even though I don't like any of his individual photographs, in the sense that I could select some clear favourites that I'd like to hang on a wall, I do like his body of work, especially in book form.

I think Tillmans's work is best described by the title of one of his exhibitions: "if one thing matters, everything matters" although an even better title might have been: "if nothing matters everything matters", which is actually how I remembered the title.

In his work Wolfgang Tillmans tries to give equal weight to every subject. A collection of his photos therefore shows a very "democratic" view of the world. His work is thus some sort of an antidote to the monumental photos of Andreas Gurky. In exhibitions Tillmans does blow up some of his photos to the size of a billboard but that is consistent with his strategy of placing the ordinary and the extraordinary on equal footing.

Wolfgang Tillmans is currently one of the darlings of the art world. I understand that some people want to own an original Wolfgang Tillmans so as to be able to tell their friends "That's a Wolfgang Tillmans". However, in my view the essence of his work is not in any single photo but in his body of work.