German art exhibition “Fragile” in Kinshasa

12.02.2018 - Article

Fragile is Wolfgang Tillmans’s first exhibition on the African continent. The premiere in the capital of the Democatic Republic of the Congo is organised together with the Goethe-Institut Kinshasa and will tour several African cities in the coming years.

Wolfgang Tillmans stands in front of his artwork Lightning (2002)
Wolfgang Tillmans stands in front of his artwork “Lightning” (2002)© dpa / KEYSTONE

“What I find most appealing in people is how they are aware of their own fragility and yet are still strong and independent beings. I want to communicate this complexity in its entirety, that lack of a singular reading, and to channel the multi-layered character and the contradictions of a personality, the way they’re revealed in clothes, in styles, in attitudes, and the way a person lives. It’s the fractured reality of identity that fascinates me.”– Wolfgang Tillmans

The exhibition Fragile provides a comprehensive overview of the many-facetted work of Wolfgang Tillmans and contains more than 200 works from 1986 to 2017. Large-scale prints, smaller photographic prints, sculptural objects and tabletop installations are part of this exhibition as well as video projections and publication projects.
Wolfgang Tillmans’s artistic work is based on his never-ceasing curiosity, his intensive research in preparation, and a constant dealing with the medium of photography and its technical and aesthetic potential.

Wolfgang Tillmans art piece Dan
Wolfgang Tillmans art piece “Dan”© ifa

His visual language derives from precise observation that reveals a deeply human approach to our environment. Familiarity and empathy, as well as friendship, community and intimacy are visible and tangible in his pictures.

For Tillmans, acceptance of the fragility that determines us as individuals and that plays into our relations with each other is not a weakness – it is a great strength. He uses failure, ruptures, and frailty as impulses to develop new processes.

They refer to the imperfect nature of our lives and they reveal unanticipated perspectives on their materiality. In these ways, Fragile highlights precious moments in life and the meaning of social and family ties, in particular in times of social and political instability.


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