Born in 1968 in Remscheid, Germany, he lives and works in London and Berlin.
Throughout his career Wolfgang Tillmans has challenged the potentiality of making pictures and has brought a new kind of subjectivity to photography. He explores traditional genres such as portraiture, still life, or landscape with a constant interest in the limits of visibility by pairing intimacy and playfulness with social critique — thus questioning the existing values and hierarchies. Through the integration of genres, subjects, techniques, and exhibition strategies, Tillmans expands conventional ways of approaching photography and addresses the fundamental question of what it means to create pictures in an increasingly image-saturated world.
In 2000, he was the first photographer and first non-British artist to receive the Turner Prize, from Tate, London. From 2003 to 2009, Tillmans served as a professor at the Städelschule in Frankfurt. Tillmans was the recipient of the 2015 Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography and in January 2018, he was awarded the Kaiserring prize from the city of Goslar in Germany.
The Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, welcomed Wolfgang Tillmans for a major solo exhibition in 2021. The Museum of Modern Art, New York opened a survey exhibition in 2022.