Wolfgang Tillmans - Moments of Life

Hors Les Murs

© Wolfgang Tillmans © Photo J Souteyrat / Fondation Louis Vuitton

From 02.02.2023 to 11.06.2023
Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo
Omotesando Bldg 7F 5-7-5 Jingumae Shibuya-ku
Tokyo 150-0001
+81 3 3515 0855

The Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo presents the works of Wolfgang Tillmans in the new exhibition "Moments of Life"

Throughout his career, Wolfgang Tillmans has captured the vulnerability of bodies, people, and objects alike. His works have epitomized a new kind of subjectivity in photography, pairing intimacy and playfulness with social critique and the persistent questioning of existing values and hierarchies.

In his practice, portraits are a constant. Be they of close friends, collaborators, strangers or public figures, his portraits possess a rare psychological intensity, as the artist reveals the singularity of each of his subjects. He creates empathy by paying close attention.

Though it seems impossible to identify the subject of the portrait haircut (2007), as the person is photographed from behind, the work paradoxically creates a feeling of great intimacy.

Self-portraits have appeared in Tillmans’ work since 1986. He invites himself into the image, for example in the work London Olympics (2012). Group scenes refer to famous canvases from the history of art, such as Summer Party (2013) which echoes Edouard Manet's celebrated canvas, Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe.

Still lifes also hold a prominent place in his work. still life, Bourne Estate (2002) cannot be viewed without recalling 17th-century Dutch paintings. The presence of crockery and the domestic context bring to mind the great compositions of the golden age. still life, Bourne Estate II (2007) is its more contemporary counterpart, featuring a Wi-Fi box and an electric heater, while the other elements, such as rocks and shells, echo the classical genre.

Nature, a recurring subject in his work, is also approached through its relationship to humans and the city: Adalbert Garden, Winter (2009), shoe (grounded) (2014).

His end of winter (a) (2005), depicting the remains of a party in the middle of which sits a large print, belongs to a corpus of photographs taken by the artist in his studio

With these works which belong to the Collection, the Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo is pleased to introduce the artist’s oeuvre to audiences in Japan, within the framework of the Hors-les-murs programme of the Fondation Louis Vuitton.

The artist

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.

Since the late 1980s, Wolfgang Tillmans has developed a body of work that stretches the limits of photography and image making. His photographs which he presents taped to the wall, hung from clips or framed, revisit the traditional genres of portraiture, still life and landscape. Tillmans has also worked with the photocopier and has created abstract photographs made in the darkroom without a camera.

The Foundation has more than thirty works by Tillmans acquired since 2007 and, today, is pleased to be showing select works from that collection in Tokyo.

In 2000, Tillmans was the first non-British photographer and artist to receive the Turner Prize awarded annually by Tate in London. The Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig in Vienna hosted a major Wolfgang Tillmans exhibition in 2021. The Museum of Modern Art in New York devoted a major retrospective to him in the fall of 2022. In Osaka, Japan, the National Museum of Modern Art showed his work in 2015.

Discover the Collection