Wolfgang Tillmans – Biography
Wolfgang Tillmans (German, b. 1968) rose to fame as a documentary-style photographer, with a focal point on London’s gay community. He studied at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design in England from 1990 to 1992. He spent the next several years moving between London and New York with Jochen Klein (German, 1968-1997), a painter.
Klein’s death from AIDS-related complications made a notable impact on Tillmans and his work. The photographer began his career covering gay pride events for magazines such as i-D, Interview, and Spex magazines. Later, his casual, family-photo style shots of important gay figures in the arts world would appear on their covers. In 1997, Tillmans became the coeditor of Spex Magazine. The following years were filled with a wide range of projects, including the labor-intensive Concord Grid on display at the Chisenhale Gallery in London, in 1997. The presentation followed airplane flights at Heathrow Airport from various locations around the city. His 1998 collection Total Solar Eclipse Grid, made up of 21 photographs, similarly documents a solar eclipse. Tillmans won the Turner Prize based on the installation. He was the first photographer, and the first non-English, to receive the award. He received an honor once again in 2001, when his design was selected as the basis for an AIDS memorial in Munich, Germany.