Since Tillmans' early exposure to London's club scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s, popular music and its associations with urban youth culture has played a fundamental role in his photography. It was recording these experiences that Tillmans got his first photographs published in style magazines such as i-D and, returning to Germany, he earned commercial success working with local fashion and lifestyle magazines in Hamburg. Yet Tillmans did not seek a career solely involved with magazine production. With his own artistic ambitions he blurred the boundaries between fashion and art, allowing them to influence each other in his work. His photographs avoid the more obvious, glossy images of fashion magazines and his portraiture offers a more subtle rendering of his subjects.
Tillmans' portraits have often been referred to as 'casual' for their low-key, snap-shot appearance but they are in fact the result of a carefully constructed process of engagement with his models. Over the course of his career, Tillmans has intimately portrayed his family and friends as well as celebrated figures of the arts. The present work is featured in Tillmans' book, Portraits, chosen and arranged by him, which also includes musicians Michael Stipe, Moby, Damon Albarn, Alex James and Supergrass.
Jarvis Cocker himself has had a long established interest in the visual arts. In 1988, before Pulp had reached their fame of the mid-nineties with their albums His 'n' Hers and Different Class, Cocker took time out from the band to study Fine Art and Film at Central St. Martin's, graduating in 1991. While there, he came across a book by art critic Roger Cardinal called Outsider Art, which promoted art created outside of official cultural boundaries. For Cocker it was a defining moment: 'It was evidence that artistic creation existed outside of institutions'. Its instinctive and authentic qualities have continuously appealed to Cocker, and in 1999 he presented a series for Channel 4 exploring various forms of Outsider Art. Alongside his musical career, Cocker has partaken in numerous artistic side projects. In 2007 he was the guest curator for the Southbank Centre's Meltdown festival, which combines music and the visual arts. In Paris and London he has recently taken to staging impromptu gigs in art galleries where the audience can participate, and last year he helped curate an exhibition for The Museum of Everything, London, again promoting Outsider Art.
The shared influence of music and art in the work of Tillmans and Cocker sees them suitably paired here. Jarvis is an immediate image of one of Britpop's most iconic figures captured by the ever-engaging, ever-exploring eye of Tillmans.
To be sold together with a certificate of authenticity which is signed and dated May 2002, and a smaller (16 by 12in.) C-print of the present work and a data CD.
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