29 February - 30 March 2012

Guy Tillim

Second Nature II

STEVENSON is pleased to present part II of Guy Tillim's Second Nature series of photographs, part I of which showed at the gallery in July/August 2011 (click here to view).

The second half of Tillim's Second Nature was taken in São Paulo in 2011. In many respects, these images of the contested urban terrain of a megalopolis appear to be the antithesis of the Polynesian landscapes of the first half of the series, with their reverence for nature and awareness of the elements of water, wind and light. Yet, on closer looking, it becomes clear that Tillim is seeing and perceiving the landscape of these two strongly contrasting places in the same way. In all these images he does not offer the conventional point of focus or easily identifiable subject that is the standard premise for photography; instead, he gives equal treatment to the many elements that comprise an image. A person walking is not more important than a signpost, or a sculptural tree, or a zebra crossing, or a strange building; the eye roves across the image and is entertained by these identifiable aspects but never halts and concludes that this element is the reason for the image. As a result, one is never sure what is actually being photographed, yet one's eye remains engaged and active within the frame of the image. The paradox that Tillim is photographing nothing yet everything, and that he conflates the notions of subject and object, reminds us that the premise for the Second Nature series is not the qualities of the landscapes of Polynesia or São Paulo, but the way we perceive them.

A book has been published by Prestel, coinciding with the exhibition of the series at Huis Marseille Museum for Photography in Amsterdam (2 March to 3 June 2012).

Tillim was born in Johannesburg in 1962 and lives in Cape Town. His previous series, Avenue Patrice Lumumba, showed at Stevenson in 2008 and subsequently at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris; Museu Serralves in Porto; the Peabody Museum at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Foam Fotografiemuseum in Amsterdam; and Extracity, Antwerp, in 2009; at the Kunsthalle Oldenburg, Germany, in 2010, and at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago and the Contact Photography Festival in Toronto in 2011. Tillim has received many awards for his work including the 2004 DaimlerChrysler Award for South African photography, the Leica Oskar Barnack Award in 2005 and the first Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography from the Peabody Museum at Harvard University in 2006. His work was included on Documenta 12 in 2007 and the São Paulo Bienal in 2006. Current exhibitions include Appropriated Landscapes at the Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm/Burlafingen, Germany.

The exhibition will be on view from Wednesday 29 February; please note there will be no opening event.

The gallery is open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, and Saturday from 10am to 1pm.