Wolfgang Tillmans - Photographs London Friday, October 25, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Description

    Please note, if this lot is imported to the USA it will be subject to an import tariff. Please speak to a member of the Department for further details.

  • Provenance

    Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York
    Phillips de Pury, New York, 16 November 2007, lot 323

  • Exhibited

    Wolfgang Tillmans, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 20 May - 13 August 2006; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 17 September 2006 - 7 January 2007; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, February - May 2007, another
    Wolfgang Tillmans, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen, 28 May - 1 October 2017, another

  • Literature

    Wolfgang Tillmans, Riehen: Fondation Beyeler, 2017, p. 108

  • Catalogue Essay

    ‘I’m also not afraid of repetition, I always say I want to make NEW pictures, but that doesn’t mean I can’t look at subject matter that was looked at by generations of artists before (or biologists, or calendar producers —a tree through the seasons). It’s the HOW that matters. Words can describe the WHAT, the subject matter, the HOW is much harder to describe, and that’s where visual art negates language.’
    Wolfgang Tillmans

    Wolfgang Tillmans’ long-term apple tree series developed organically. In the spring of 2001, he planted an apple tree in a container outside his London flat and began to photograph it. He recalls the story:

    I moved to an ex-council flat which had one of these balconies where you access the flat from an outdoor walkway and I began to collect more plants. And then I bought an apple tree. In the first year I had the tree, children were stealing all the apples, so on the last one I put a post-it note saying ‘Please leave this one.’ I began to photograph it – not really as a project, but it was just an intuitive reaction because every day I walked past this developing growth and these ripening apples. That is typical for how I work, that things often only afterwards turn out to be serious.

    In 2002, Tillmans took two photographs, day and night, which were released to help fund the accompanying catalogue to his 2003 Tate Britain exhibition if one thing matters, everything matters. inner city apple tree, a photograph of the blossoming tree, was created in spring of 2003. Realising that he needed to plant at least two different apple tree varieties to make apples, he added two more trees, and in the following year, 2004, he photographed the seasonal trajectory of an apple tree from blossom to ripe apples, resulting in apple tree (a-j), which includes the present image. apple tree (k), created in 2006, was followed by apple tree (2007) and the series concluded in 2010 with the final work inner city apple tree II.

    In 2006, apple tree (f) was shown alongside the 13 other apple tree photographs as 24x20-inch exhibition prints for his first US survey at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Since then these works have been exhibited both individually and as a series, most recently at Fondation Beyeler in 2017.

    apple tree (f) presents the tree at its peak with ready-to-pick apples in red and golden shades. Created as an oversized stand-alone work, this lot epitomises the way in which Tillmans sees the world. ‘In the most innocent sight, a tree growing, I can find great joy,’ states the artist. ‘And I sometimes find that this is a tremendously subversive and free act, that you are empowered with your eyes to access the world the way you want to see it.’

  • 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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apple tree (f)

Chromogenic print, mounted on Dibond.
Image: 201 x 135 cm (79 1/8 x 53 1/8 in.)
Frame: 211 x 144.5 cm (83 1/8 x 56 7/8 in.)

Signed in pencil on a gallery label affixed to the reverse of the mount.

This work is number 1 from sold-out edition of 1.


£50,000 - 70,000 ‡♠

Sold for £62,500

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London Auction 25 October 2019