Critics’ Picks

Wolfgang Tillmans, studio still life, c, 2014, ink-jet print, clips, 54 x 89".

Wolfgang Tillmans, studio still life, c, 2014, ink-jet print, clips, 54 x 89".


Wolfgang Tillmans

Galerie Buchholz | Berlin
Fasanenstraße 30
April 29–June 18, 2016

Wolfgang Tillmans’s latest exhibition—consisting of a few more recent table displays from his series “Truth Study Center,” 2005–, and photographs shown in a range of sizes, some framed, others not—presents images of corridors, flora, dismantled technologies, people, exhibition models, the ocean, and buildings, along with snapshots of past yet still influential subcultures. The show is set up as an appealing invitation to a profound artist’s studio, which, rather than being a place of production that emulates traditional ideas of art and labor, is as much a conceptual, political, and social site where the relationship between artist, work, and technologies is analyzed. In this sense, the installation here can be interpreted as an artistic archaeology of the different vitalities contained within the studio environment. Life there is not so different from other lives—in studio still life, c, 2014, for instance, Tillmans has supplemented the cigarettes, plants, and coffee cups depicted in many of his other still lifes with computer screens and other digital hardware, emphasizing the complexity of these apparatus’s roles in our lives.

Meanwhile, the insides of material worlds are entered and explored as studios themselves, as in CLC 800, dismantled, a, 2011, which depicts a demounted photocopy machine, and Kopierer, b, 2010, showing the scanner unit of another, similar machine. The images complicate the active forces of technologies, whose processes can become the content of the artwork they produce. This is an exhibition in which pictures, as assemblages of diverse forms of lives—human or otherwise—meet places, becoming essential collaborators. These sites then operate as feedback mechanisms, constantly looping between artists and their machines.