Selected works



Photo: Ulrich Tillmann

Meditations, 1985 / 2001
Manipulated and tinted barite print on museum board
30 x 24 cm WH

Is the small dog lying on a cushion and seems enormous in comparison to the sculpture also meditating like the inward looking figure of the Buddha, hardly the size of two hands, which sits in front of it? Has the Buddha’s powers of concentration also been passed along to the dog’s state of mind or does the Buddha in fact draw from the dog’s natural sense of relaxation? Is it possible for a sculpture to have such an impact that even a dog cannot evade the waves of energy emanating from it? And, finally, can the illustration of the meditating figures in itself also lead to meditation? The photograph by Ulrich Tillmann and its title “Meditations” (plural) pose these questions to the viewer.

The photograph is simultaneously programmatic for what visitors will be able experience in the future at the Museum DKM in Duisburg. It summarizes to some extent a broad expanse of horizon under which the Collection DKM can be understood: The West, the Near and the Far East; art from ancient times and from the present, profane und religious cultures; sculpture and image in this case photography. For this reason it was also reproduced on the cover of the exhibition catalogued entitled Linien stiller Schönheit [Lines of silent beauty] with which the museum was opened.

Ulrich Tillmann is a contemporary photographer rooted in the Western tradition who, like many other Westerners as well, also likes to travel to the Near and Far East because of their economic possibilities, who subversively questions the so-called professional art business in his Klaus Peter Schnüttger-Webs Museum in Cologne This artist has photographed a completely harmonious situation in which a figure of the Buddha, a sculpture, deriving from the tradition and the history of the Far East, can seemingly even inspire a domesticated Western dog to meditate. Over and above its illustrative function, this photograph also lays claim to fulfilling the twenty-first century demand for beauty by way of an innovative nineteenth and twentieth-century media.

As Ulrich Tillmann himself said in an interview with Kathrin Luz that is reprinted in the Linien stiller Schönheit catalogue: “Beauty has not been lost. Perhaps the fact that many avant-garde artists have been occupied with its negation or destruction indicates that the subject of aesthetics is as current, controversial, and interesting as it has always been.” And he says about his photograph Meditationen: “The picture is beautiful because it exudes calm and balance despite the fact that it is uncertain what proportion is emitted by which participant. One can naturally also ask whether it is justified that the figure of the Buddha is one hundred times more expensive than the dog.”

Ulrich Tillmann (1951–2019)

Raimund Stecker, 2009

The photo Meditations by Ulrich Tillmann can be seen in the permanent presentation of the collection.