Wolfgang Tillmans becomes a Royal Academician

The photographer joins David Hockney and Anish Kapoor as a member of Britain's most prestigious art institution
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Self Portrait (2013) by Wolfgang Tillmans
Self Portrait (2013) by Wolfgang Tillmans

The fine-art photographer and Phaidon artist, Wolfgang Tillmans, is known for breaking new ground. He was, after all, the first photographer and first non-British artist to win the Turner Prize. So, it is with great pleasure that we learned earlier this week that Tillmans has been appointed a Royal Academician by Britain’s Royal Academy of Arts.

This independent, privately funded institution based at Burlington House in Piccadilly, London, is led by 80 eminent artists and architects, with the express purpose of promoting the “creation, enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts through exhibitions, education and debate.” The Academicians, also known less formally as ‘members’, manage the RA and often contribute works to its well-known summer show.

 

Out Ear (2012) by Wolfgang Tillmans
Out Ear (2012) by Wolfgang Tillmans

Although Tillmans was born in Germany, he studied in Britain and currently divides his time between London and Berlin, and so qualifies for RA membership, which stipulates that all members “must be professionally active, either wholly or partly, in the United Kingdom”.

Strictly speaking, all RA members are classed as painters, sculptors or architects. Yet this doesn't prevent Gillian Wearing, best known for her photography, and Tacita Dean, now primarily a filmmaker, from holding membership, both under the 'painter' category.

 

Paper Drop Light (2006) by Wolfgang Tillmans
Paper Drop Light (2006) by Wolfgang Tillmans

Media aside, Tillmans, seems well suited to the role, since he is both a well-known and well-respected artist, and a talented gallerist; his Between Bridges exhibition space, which staged shows in London 2006 – 2011, has just reopened in Berlin. Congratulations Wolfgang.

 

Garten (garden) (2008) by Wolfgang Tillmans
Garten (garden) (2008) by Wolfgang Tillmans

Find out more about the Royal Academy here. And pre-order our revised and updated Tillmans monograph, one of the most popular and influential titles in Phaidon’s Contemporary Artists series, here.


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