09 Mar 2011

wolfgang tillmans at LACMA tonight

Installation view of "himmelblau", 2005 and "Sportflecken", 1996 from the 2006 exhibition at UCLA's Hammer Museum taken from the artist's website.

Installation view of "himmelblau", 2005 and "Sportflecken", 1996 from the 2006 exhibition at UCLA's Hammer Museum taken from the artist's website.

I am heading to LACMA tonight for a lecture by German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans. The free lecture is a collaboration between Otis College of Art and Design, where I teach, the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department and the USC Roski School of Fine Arts.

I am familiar with Tillmans’s work, having seen it published in various books, but have not had the opportunity to see it in any of his site-specific presentations. In preparation for his lecture, I’ve been reading the essays in the catalog created for his first touring show within the U.S. One can find and download that catalog on the artist’s website.

In the catalog’s introduction, curators Dominic Molon and Russell Ferguson describe Tillmans’s work better and more concisely than I can:

...he has developed a highly distinctive style of image making that encompasses a broad range of subjects—from still lifes that transform the folds of casually tossed clothes into a profound experience of the everyday, to abstractions featuring textures, lines, and contours that possess an almost bodily presence. Tillmans also takes a powerfully unique approach to presenting his work, varying the size of his photographs based on the specific spatial situation of the particular venue and producing them as large ink-jet prints that emphasize both their pictorial and material qualities.

Later in the introduction the curators further describe a segment of his work as “conceptually inspired meditations on natural phenomena as well as often startlingly beautiful abstractions that result from experiments with the photographic process, among other subjects.”

Installation view of "For the Victims of Organized Religions", 2006 taken from the artist's website.

Installation view of "For the Victims of Organized Religions", 2006 taken from the artist's website.

I am particularly interested in the pieces that fall into the category described above. I hope he delves into how he lets processes determine outcomes. Furthermore, I wish to hear him talk about his approach to installing his work at each site, whether he develops a system specific to that time and place, or whether intuition drives his decision-making.

Installation view of "slate", 2005 and "economy", 2006 taken from the artist's website.

Installation view of "slate", 2005 and "economy", 2006 taken from the artist's website.

Tonight’s free lecture is at 6:30 pm in LACMA’s Bing Theater. It is a ticketed event; the box office opens at 5:30 pm.