London Olympics

  • 2012
  • Wolfgang Tillmans
  • Inkjet print
  • 207 x 138 cm

Since 1986, self-portraits have regularly appeared in Wolfgang Tillmans' work. London Olympics (2012), is one such example, a complex composition that seems, on first glance, to capture a fairly mundane moment. Tillmans is present twice in this self-portrait: the blurred image of his leg can be seen in the foreground, and in the background, he is lying on a bed, aiming his camera at the mirror, which reflects the scene out of shot. The monumental size of this image allows the spectator to immerse themselves in the scene.

© Wolfgang Tillmans/ Photo © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Martin Argyroglo


Wolfgang Tillmans

Wolfgang Tillmans emerged at the beginning of the 1990s as a photographer of a libertarian post-punk youth who listened to techno music.

At raves and gay gatherings, he captured – in large ink-jet prints, often unframed – the vulnerability of bodies, friends in informal poses, and individuals observed over a number of years in their personal lives. Using photography as social art, relating directly to reality, Tillmans builds empathy with his subjects. His art gets to the essential truth by paying close attention to the era. In doing so he revisits traditional genres: portraiture, still life and landscape. Tillmans has never stopped investigating photographic techniques. He enlarges and reframes his images using a copy machine, and creates abstract photographs in a dark room without a camera, simply using a light source. Since 1992 Tillmans has designed his exhibitions himself. Forming groups of photographs, hung on and stuck to the wall, or displayed on tables in no predefined order, he uses space as a laboratory in which collections of images reflect human communities.

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