Wolfgang Tillmans

I think that Tillmans, choosing to use the medium of photography, executed it well. My issue being that I struggle to rate photography in a contemporary context that highly. This may be a purely personal preference and I also just don’t exactly why or if I even do dislike it. It’s a tough subject to think about because I very often see photographs that I think are beautiful but for me that’s not enough. I know, however, that a lot of other people as young artists really relate to photography and can draw a lot out of a photograph. I really struggle to do so. When I see a photograph I always feel like I’ve seen it before. Maybe that’s the beauty of photography for some but for me that devalues it. Additionally, I find that photography in the context it exists in now, struggles to escape certain connotations. A few of the categories which I find photography slips into easily are “magazine cool”, “distressing journalism” and “romanticised tragedy”. I am not saying that none of these things have value, just that because of their existence photography tends to, in me eyes, be rather restricted as it falls naturally into these already formed categories. My issue here is that I don’t know if I’m being close minded by thinking this. It is not that I really don’t like photography though it is that i find it difficult for draw meaning from and to appreciate as exciting and new. I don’t think that this is just because it’s been around so long because I find it easier to get excited by painting (still not that easy though) and that’s been around a lot longer. Manipulation of photography and photography as an aspect of a more diverse piece of work is something that I do like and see great value in. All of these things I’m not actually that sure of, and my mind changes a lot. I value the photograph as research, a record and for decorative purposes definitely and I enjoy taking them myself. Perhaps I should do a photography project to try and get my head around this.

Anyway, Tillman’s video I absolutely adored! It was him shaking in front of a wall on a split screen of his shadow of him shaking on the wall. They weren’t recorded at the same time though and this was very subtle. I have recently become very interested in the repetition of things and the effect this may have. I noticed it in this video, how hypnotic it was and how my opinion changed as it continued to repeat itself. I also really loved it in the Bruce Nauman audio installations which incorporated the relation of simple phrases or words. Another place where I noticed it in a slightly different context was Giacometti talking about when he would paint his wife and she would stand for him for days at a time and after the third day he wouldn’t even recognise her. It is so interesting how repition changes the thing being repeated so much. I really would like to explore this.


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