Wolfgang Tillmans b. 1968, Remscheid, Germany
24 x 20 inches (61 x 50.8 cm)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee, 2008
Wolfgang Tillmans's expansive photographic practice eschews traditional classification, often blurring the boundaries between found and staged images. Most recently, Tillmans has extended this ambiguity to his abstract works, using pure light to create images from cameraless darkroom experiments. Recalling his ongoing series Impossible Color (1996–present), made from photochemical accidents and unreproducible colors, the unique print Lighter 46 is an image of the photographic process itself. Here Tillmans retreats from the camera and photographic enlarger, choreographing the diaphanous washes of color using chemicals and homemade light sources on light-sensitive paper. The perceptible impermanence of these manipulations of light, their incarnations as emerald dust and a ghostly haze of crimson, are disrupted by a rigid fold that lifts the work into its Plexiglas enclosure, transforming it into a three-dimensional object. With this sculptural gesture, Tillmans constructs a tactile still life out of a transitory moment in the darkroom.