On first sight, Wolfgang Tillmans’ east London studio has a relaxed feel, verging on the messy. But look closer and you notice the meticulously organised files of invoices, alongside boxes of letters and out-of-date films. The objects around this studio are often the subject of his photographs, and in many respects it helps explain his work. With their informal aesthetic and seemingly loose approach to subject matter, Tillmans’ photographs have been mistaken for casual snapshots. Don’t be fooled. He has deliberately abandoned “the language of importance”, but his images are carefully thought out and are often partly staged. “I guess there is a tendency for any artist in any field to want their work to be noticed,” he laughs. “But the artists who are a little bit more interesting go beyond that and realise that of course it’s much cooler to make it all look effortless.” Despite the apparent ease of style, Tillmans’ work is instantly recognisable, and he’s become one of the most celebrated artists of his generation. A decade ago he was the …
Music, video and installations show how the artist’s work has expanded from pure photography
Over thousands of years, the tattoo has been etched into the global imagination, absorbed into every culture, marking the art form’s innate permanence as the ultimate emblem of pride, identity and rite of passage. In his latest series, Everlasting, photographer Tom Brannigan captures the symbolic spirit of the practice, focusing on the roots of body art in maritime history. The work takes inspiration from traditional sailor tattoo designs, employing a playful and at times tongue-in-cheek approach. Brannigan carefully constructs still-life photographs from objects he has collected, to evoke the imagery adopted by seafarers as mementos and talismans that primarily served a superstitious purpose among those living an unpredictable, and often risky, lifestyle. Images of swallows, skulls, daggers, hearts and roses are constructed predominantly with mass produced, toy-like props to reference the often stylised and cartoon-like nature of this genre of tattoos. “I’ve been fascinated by tattoos ever since I was a kid,” says Brannigan. “I’m interested in the language and symbolism of tattoos, and how a design becomes almost a cultural icon when it is repeated over time.” “Everlasting started out of a love …
A traditional prophecy said that some day a giant snake would come and swallow up the Suruí people, destroying them and everything else in its path. The snake arrived in 1969. It’s called the Trans-Amazonian highway. In the wake of its completion, missionaries rushed in to evangelise the Suruí people, who are native to the Amazon rainforest. This act of faith profoundly changed indigenous beliefs because the missionaries encouraged the shamans to abandon their ancestral rituals. Perpera Suruí was the wawã, or shaman, of the community of Lapetanha. He is now the gatekeeper for the Evangelical church in the village and has given up his shamanic practice. The Suruí’s story is just one of many that alludes to the rapid acculturation faced by indigenous communities since the days of colonialism. A witness to evangelisation campaigns, infrastructure development, abuses of the rubber trade and natural resource extraction, the world’s longest river continues to arouse greed, competition and fascination in its visitors. Following in the footsteps of past expeditions, The Jungle Book: Contemporary Stories of the Amazon and Its Fringe is a visual …
Vintage photographs from David ‘Chim’ Seymour’s Children of Europe series is about to go on display for the first time in the UK. Chim was commissioned by UNICEF following World War II to document the conflict’s impact on children and the resulting photographs drew attention to war’s most vulnerable victims.
A new exhibitionwill explore how photographers responded to Surrealism over the course of over 50 years, including works by Man Ray, Andre Kertesz, Florence Henri and Bill Brandt to tell the history of the iconic avant-garde movement through photography.
Marking the twenty-year anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty from British rule, a new exhibition at Impressions Gallery explores the entwined histories of China and the UK, traced through the family history of photographer Kurt Tong.
He may be better known for Candle In The Wind, but Sir Elton John Collection possessions one of the world’s greatest private collections of photography, and it’s about to go on show, for the first time, at Tate Modern.
On the opening of Museum Of Machines, a major new exhibition on Dayanita Singh at Mast Gallery, Bologna, the exhibition curator Urs Stahel writes of the iconic Indian photographer’s ability to “shape internal and external life, society and personal history, presence and absence, fullness and emptiness, reality and dream into a fragmented whole, a new and unique body of image and poetry.”
Around Ai Weiwei, a new exhibition at Turin’s Camera gallery, highlights the various stages of the artistic career of Ai Weiwei, investigating not only his artistic works from his debut right up to the present day, but also his role in the cultural, social and political debate, both in China and throughout the world, exploring the genesis of Ai Weiwei as an icon of the Asiatic world.