Stephan Tillmans | Leuchtschichtformungen
Stephan Tillmans’ work Leuchtschichtformugen is a showing of luminescent tube TVs, captured in the moment of switching off. The collapsing construct reveals light in a new form, as a brief dying radiation. Tillman can influence the image he creates by changing the TV picture before it is reduced to its most essential element - the light.
The Constructs of Light
Tillman’s images of light are capturings of the briefest life of light. The television images become broken and abstracted to the point of nonsense, the burning of the television tube and darkness bringing death. Tillman thus shows his understanding of life to be an absurdity, a Sisyphean task that ends regardless of image and devoid of objective meaning. These are images constructed from the chaos of television, its miasmic cloud of light, that the viewer interprets. The viewer creates meaning from the nonsense as they unconsciously interpret Tillman’s images - a mountain landscape, a throat, a hibernating animal. Tillman’s images of light build from the postmodern interpretative method - there is not one objective truth but an individual truth, a constructed story of the viewer built from their experiences, impression and associations.
Art from the Commercial
Tillman’s work here is an emergence from the television, a product sold in the hundreds of millions, to art designed and interpretable at the level of the individual. Leuchtschichtformungen is a journey that arrives at its opposite image - from product to art. This opposition is mirrored in the darkness and light of Tillman’s images themselves. The obsolete tube television creates Tillman’s postmodern work, a visualisation of the changes consumption of television and film are going through in our society - a representation of the final visual scream of tube television as it gives birth to a wholly new and Tillman’s photographs capturing and preserving this moment.
Words | Rob Woodgate