HUGO TILLMAN: DAYDREAMS OF MINE, a mesmerizing exhibition including seventeen surreal color photographs will be on view at the Nohra Haime Gallery from November 11th through December 5th.
In his latest work, Tillman turns his lens on Cuba. For a period of six days, Tillman produced a series of interventions in Havana in collaboration with the government. These arresting photographs that document life in the Caribbean island reflect as well the tension in the process between the artist and the power structure.
As Tillman stages and captures scenes that illustrate, in his own words, “my little perspective” of this city of contrasts, he presents the viewer with fantastic photographic images, directed by the dream, the magical and the real. The eccentricity, and combination of related and unrelated elements in his mise en scènes call to mind the concept of the marvelous – that magnificent interplay between wish and reality.
In Solar, 2008, for instance, the artist presents a scene where neighbors gather gaily on the balconies of their apartment buildings in Havana. The atmosphere is relaxed, hot, and loud. On the upper balcony, a chichi teenager leans forward and looks down as she talks to a neighbor hidden from view. She is wearing large hoop earrings and vibrant fuscia colored tights matching the flower adorning her tied-back hair. Close-by, a young mother, who seems oblivious of what’s going on around her, leisurely styles a little girl’s hair. On the balcony below, teenagers enthusiastically talk to neighbors in the adjacent building. Standing next to them, a character dressed in a peacock costume – with turquoise blue feathers fanning out behind him – strikes a pose for the camera. In the contiguous building, we see a flamboyant woman with a fan, wearing a bright pink dress, sunglasses and a white straw hat, that playfully smiles at the camera. There is an infectious energy and folklore felt in the characters expressions and postures. Tillman’s picture is indeed a celebration of the commonplace and extraordinary idiosyncrasy of the Cuban people.
Born in London in 1973, Tillman moved to New York and received a Masters of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in 2004. His photographs have been exhibited at the Guangzhou Museum of Art, China; The Today Art Museum, Beijing; The Birmingham Art Gallery, England; The National Portrait Gallery, London; Elementa Gallery, Dubai; F2 Gallery, Beijing; DF2 Gallery, Los Angeles, P.S.1, New York, among others. Tillman has also participated in a number of international biennales, such as the Guangzhou Photo Biennale (2009), Guandong, China; Shanghai Biennale, Moca (2006), Shanghai, China; and Berlin Biennale (2000), Berlin, Germany. He is currently exhibiting his Film Stills of the Mind series at Columbia College of Art. He is also a candidate for a Doctor of Philosophy Degree from Oxford University.