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  • Provenance

    Maureen Paley, London

  • Catalogue Essay

    By incorporating abstract forms into his pictures, Wolfgang Tillmans challenges the potentialities of photography. Bordering on the abstract, Paper Drop is a detailed representation of a paper sheet with little contextualization. This ambiguity is purposefully portrayed by the artist, instead, the camera seeks to celebrate the shimmering and gleaming polychrome surfaces of both the curling paper and the background. The paper not only performs a ‘dance’ of reflections and shadows inside the picture but also plays with the three-dimensionality of the physical photograph in front of the viewer. Against the idea of the existence of a pure white, Tillmans explores a number of photographically producible white tones of the paper, the background and the wall on which the photograph will be displayed. White mixes and mingles with the grey and other marginal hues creating an extremely tangible and sculptural image. The present lot exemplifies Tillmans successful and prolific battle with art showing that photography can be explored and considered outside of its use in documentary and decorative function. Questions about the narrative and purpose of the piece of paper, are conflated with a contemplation of a material within material, or rather, paper within paper. The play of line, form and colour are in a clear dialogue with the painterly tradition thus revealing that, despite the absence of paint on canvas or marble turned into sculpture, his abstract images are no less physical, artistic or indeed beautiful. German-born, Tillmans rose to international fame during the 1990s as a photorealist-style photographer. Subsequently, in 2000, Tillmans became the first photographer (and non English) artist to have been awarded the prestigious Turner Prize.

  • Artist Biography

    Wolfgang Tillmans

    German • 1968

    Since the early 1990s, Wolfgang Tillmans has pushed the boundaries of the photographic medium. Challenging the indexical nature traditionally associated with photography, his abstract and representational photographic bodies of work each in their own way put forward the notion of the photograph as object—rather than as a record of reality. While achieving his breakthrough with portraits and lifestyle photographs, documenting celebrity culture as well as LGBTQ communities and club culture, since the turn of the millennium the German photographer has notably created abstract work such as the Freischwimmer series, which is made in the darkroom without a camera.

    Seamlessly integrating genres, subject matters, techniques and exhibition strategies, Tillmans is known for photographs that pair playfulness and intimacy with a persistent questioning of dominant value and hierarchy structures of our image-saturated world. In 2000, Tillmans was the first photographer to receive the prestigious Turner Prize.

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Paper Drop (White) b

202.5 x 134.9 cm. (79 3/4 x 53 1/8 in.)
Signed and numbered 'Wolfgang Tillmans 1/1+1' on a label accompanying the work. This work is from an edition of 1 plus 1 artist's proof.

£25,000 - 35,000 

Sold for £25,000

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
[email protected]
+44 207 318 4063

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Evening Sale 10 February 2014 7pm