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Wolfgang Tillmans at Kunsthalle Helsinki
Wolfgang Tillmans, Elephant Man, 2002, C-type print, dimensions variable. Courtesy Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne and Maureen Paley, London.

HELSINKI, FINLAND.- This year's Helsinki Festival art exhibition in the Kunsthalle presents the internationally acclaimed artist Wolfgang Tillmans. Known as the eye of his generation, Tillmans will construct his exhibition as an installation specifically tailored for the Kunsthalle. In addition to new works, the show will also feature earlier work by Tillmans. Included will be Concorde Grid, a series of photos juxtaposing suburban landscapes and Concorde aircraft; abstract photographs, and a sculptural table installation combining personal and political texts and pictures. Characteristically, Tillmans also experiments with unusual media such as books or magazines to present his artistic work. An example of this is his photographic book about HIV, also featured in this exhibition.

Wolfgang Tillmans (born 1968 in Germany) rose to fame with his photographic art in the early 1990s. Already at that time, one of his favourite themes was social change, especially the political and sexual identity of young people. A child of the media generation, Tillmans photographed demonstrations and parties in gay clubs in Berlin, but also ordinary, intimate situations, and even landscapes. The first photographer to win the Turner Prize, Tillmans shocked the art circles and rose rapidly to the vanguard of contemporary art.

With its combination of sensitivity and the grotesque, Tillmans' aesthetic still strikes a chord in today's audiences. His camera captures life with disquieting directness, showing both the depressive wretchedness and the beauty residing in the details of everyday life. Pictures of public figures are smoothly juxtaposed with politically perceived urban views and abstract studies. From the pages of life style and independent magazines, Tillmans rose to become an icon of his generation, making powerful statements with his provocative pictures. Often concentrating on details, the works are apparently simple only on the surface.

With characteristic thoroughness, Tillmans prepares all his exhibitions with the utmost care. For the Helsinki Festival exhibition, he has built a scale model of the Kunsthalle in his London studio to use as an aid in planning the hanging. In addition to new work made for this show, there will also be earlier work from Tillmans' own and private collections.

Wolfgang Tillmans has in recent years exhibited his work in several major museums and galleries around the world, including Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Tate Britain in London, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In 2000 Tillmans was the first photographer to win the prestigious Turner Prize in Britain.

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