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Wolfgang Tillmans

Ordering Wolfgang Tillmans: 'Still life' on show at Harvard University

Benjamin Paul harks back to Dutch masters in his curation of Tillmans at the Busch-Reisinger Museum

Wolfgang Tillmans…framed? It’s a strange concept, given that Tillmans, who, two years ago, became the first photographer to win the Turner Prize, is as recognisable for his unconventional installations of his photographs as for the photographs themselves—they are simply stuck to the wall with pushpins and arranged in an all-over fashion, rather than in neat rows. In his first US solo museum show, at Harvard’s museum of German art (25 October-23 February 2003)—Tillmans has relinquished installation to exhibition curator Benjamin Paul, a Ph.D. student at Harvard, who has framed individual photographs and hung them in an orderly, formal fashion. At Harvard, the logic behind the frames seems to be that these are still lifes which hark back to the genre’s history in painting, most notably the 17th century Dutch tradition. Tillmans brings this tradition up to date with works like “Still Home, 1996” (above). Elsewhere, Tillmans is as popular as ever: in Paris his Palais de Tokyo installation closed last month, in January the Louisiana Museum in Denmark opens a show of Tillman snaps and in June 2003 a solo show of his work will be at Tate Britain in London.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Wolfgang Tillmans: still life'