Wolfgang Tillmans

Celebrated photographer and ‘artistic statesman’

There has recently been a rash of exhibitions looking back to Berlin’s club-capital days – not least c/o Berlin’s No Photos on the Dance Floor! – and naturally Tillmans has been a staple. But Berlin is not as edgy as it was, and it might seem that the photographer has also mellowed, swapping the dancefloor for the opera house and the boardroom, designing a set for English National Opera and becoming chair of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. Yet the fire isn’t spent: the foray into politics that began with a pro-EU poster campaign during the Brexit referendum continues through his Berlin-based Between Bridges Foundation, which this year roped photographers including Rineke Dijkstra and Nick Knight into a campaign to promote voter participation in the eu elections. The artist was also busy with gallery exhibitions and a museum show in Addis Ababa; on the horizon are surveys at Wiels in Brussels next year and at MoMA, New York, in 2021.