Celebrated artist and liberal posterboy
Undeterred by the failure of his 2016 print-it-yourself poster campaign to keep Britain in the EU, Tillmans produced a similar project ahead of the German elections in September, aimed at stemming the rise of the Alternative for Germany political party (also perhaps not fully successful). It wasn’t all activism in 2017: the artist mainly did what he does best, staging major solo exhibitions of his photography (and some video), the first at Tate Modern, London, and a second at the Beyeler Foundation, in Basel. Both retrospectives of sorts (though they showed entirely different works), the exhibitions could be read as paeans to liberal internationalism, as depicted through the photographer’s hedonistic wanderings. In September he enjoyed yet another museum solo, this time at the Kunstverein in Hamburg. While Tillmans included soundworks in his Tate exhibition, the Hamburg show demonstrated a commitment to the medium, featuring a four-channel sound installation centre stage.