Autumn 2003

Does it matter? [EXTRACT]

If one thing matters, everything matters

Tate Britain, London,
6 June–14 September 2003
Tate Publishing, £29.99

My first thought on walking into the Wolfgang Tillmans show is ‘Oh my God what a mess.’ There are unmounted prints – clusters of 6x4s next to huge inkjets next to groups of 16x12s – taped or pinned straight on to the walls plus a handful of framed large pieces. It looks like a student crit or a low-budget East End show. I can’t help wondering if people who pay £40,000 for one of the German-born Turner Prize winner’s giant inket prints pin it to their living-room wall with bulldog clips or whether they get a nice light wood frame thrown in for free.

Yet his style is liberating. There’s a refreshing lack of preciousness to the way the exhibition’s been hung. How many artists would show 6x4 machine prints in a national gallery? . . .

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