With the title Delight, Wolfgang Tillmans (Remscheid, Germany, 1968) reclaims the representation of the blissful contemplation of life, alluding to Walt Whitman’s joyful song of existence (1819-1892). Under this assumption, the pieces that make up this exhibition display those moments of joy, or traces of them, in as much as that it proves a happy existence. From that he considers that everything (people, objects, landscapes, waste) deserves to be photographed. As exemplified by his photographs, in Tillmans’ work the experiential -the moment when joy manifests itself- prevails over technical issues or any pretension of artificiality.
The photographs collected for this exhibition are presented in an unusual way. Far from a thematic or formal order, the distribution of the pieces throughout the rooms respond to the chaotic treatment by the artist, intermingling issues and sizes. Taken together, these photographs are an exercise in the approximation and representation of a generation, his own, under the premise mentioned before: the joyful experience of life. This archive of images from a certain time is understood as a treaty of everything, within which various topics can be listed: fashion, nightlife, friendship, everyday life, sex, landscape, family, photography as such, music and social demands. In this sense, interest in Tillmans’ work increases gradually in proportion to the number of accumulated images, it allows for the establishment of these heterogeneity relationships or a correspondence within excess.
Between realism and the genre of photojournalism, Tillmans connects with photographers who, from the Eighties and with new forms of realism, approach reality from their representation, through photographic vision. The eye of the photographer is falsely distant and nonchalant, even while there is an admission that in his last photographs there is a desire to contain and a taste for an approximation to the object and to detail. Despite this, Tillmans prevents these photographs from hiding, deleting or even intensifying the concerns of the people portrayed; he is the visualisation of existential delight, the explanatory note to them all.
Reina Sofia Museum's Publications
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