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Taking a lead from the resistance and activism in Wolfgang Tillmans’ work on the Brexit referendum, Colin Graham, Professor and Head of English at Maynooth University, considers the populist politics which seeks to re-shape our understandings of identity, freedom and citizenship. Tillmans’ art understands the ways in which fundamental changes to the post-war order are altering our ideas of what Europe can be. Graham discusses how Tillmans’ campaigning art tackles this new politics head on.
Colin Graham is Professor and Head of English at Maynooth University. His most recent book is Northern Ireland: 30 Years of Photography, published by Belfast Exposed and the MAC in May 2013. He is also the author of Deconstructing Ireland (2001) and Ideologies of Epic (1998) and co-editor of The Irish Review. Graham writes on literature, photography and culture. He is curator of the Illuminations gallery at Maynooth University. See more details here
Wolfgang Tillmans (b. Remscheid, Germany,1968) lives and works in Berlin and London. He graduated from Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design in 1992. He has won numerous awards including the Turner Prize, UK (2000), the Cultural award of the German Society for Photography (2009), the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography, Sweden (2015) and the Goslar Kaiserring Award, Germany (2018). From 2009-2014 he was an Artists Trustee on the Board of Tate, London. From 2003 to 2009 he was Professor for Interdisciplinary Art at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main. In 2006 he opened Between Bridges, a not-for-profit exhibition space in London that now operates in Berlin.
Recent major solo exhibitions have been held at Musée d’Art Contemporain et Multimédias, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Circle Art Gallery and GoDown Arts Centre Nairob, Kenya, Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa (2018); Kunstverein in Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen, Switzerland, Tate Modern, London (2017); Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto, Portugal (2016); The National Museum of Modern Art, Osaka, Japan and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2015), Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf, Germany and Les Rencontres d’Arles, France and Museo de Arte de Lima (2013); Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland, Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, Brazil and Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (2012); Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland (2011) and Serpentine Gallery, London (2010).
His work has been included in significant survey exhibitions including the 5th Biennale of Contemporary Art of Thessaloniki, State Museum of Contemporary Art, Greece (2015), Manifesta 10, The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia (2014), Fundamentals, the 14th International Architecture Biennale directed by Rem Koolhaas, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy (2014), Berlin Biennale, Germany (2014, 1998), the British Art Show 5 and 7, UK (2000, 2010); the 3rd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Russia (2009) and the 51st and 53rd Venice Biennale, Italy (2005, 2009).
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