Wolfgang Tillmans and the Tate Modern director Frances Morris
Given the copious amount of love in the air at Tate Moderns Wolfgang Tillmans opening yesterday (14 February), it seemed especially appropriate that it was taking place on Valentines Day. Not only were there a number of tenderalbeit sometimes expliciterotic images on show, but the general feeling being voiced by pretty much everyone present was that Tillmanss capacity for empathy as well as observation made this the most humane and engaging of shows. Among the many admirers last night were London fashion and club-landers such as the designer Pam Hogg and the DJ Princess Julia, as well as many fellow artists including Luc Tuymans, Jeremy Deller, Christian Marclay and early Tillmans model Alexandra Bircken
Tillmans is a passionate advocate of the UK remaining in the European Union, and it was especially poignant to revisit some of his posters from his highly personal campaign around last Junes Brexit referendum. And who could have imagined that his wryly titled truth study center project, begun in 2005, would now carry such particular resonance in the context of our current post-truth, fake news era?
Both the range of supporters filling Tate Moderns galleries and the infinitely various Tillmans-eye-view of the world that was lining the wallsspanning five continents and reaching literally from the gutter to the starsstood as a powerful testament to his interest in social life in its broadest and most inclusive sense. And later at the packed celebratory dinner at the St John restaurant, the whoops and cheers that greeted the entry of the artistappropriately holding a red rosemade him everyones most happy valentine.